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Potential role of cannabinoids in Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra, resulting from an oxidative stress. The lack of dopaminergic neurons is reflected by a disturbed balance of the neural circuitry in the basal ganglia. Cannabinoids might alleviate some parkinsonian symptoms by their remarkable receptor-mediated modulatory action in the basal ganglia output nuclei. Moreover, it was recently observed that some cannabinoids are potent antioxidants that can protect neurons from death even without cannabinoid receptor activation. It seems that cannabinoids could delay or even stop progressive degeneration of brain dopaminergic systems, a process for which there is presently no prevention. In combination with currently used drugs, cannabinoids might represent, qualitatively, a new approach to the treatment of PD, making it more effective.
Sevcik J, Masek K