Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a slow insidious neurological disorder characterized by a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. Although several recent preclinical advances have proposed to treat PD, there is hardly any clinically proved new therapeutic for its cure. Increasing evidence suggests a prominent modulatory function of the cannabinoid signaling system in the basal ganglia. Hence, use of cannabinoids as a new therapeutic target has been recommended as a promising therapy for PD.
The elements of the endocannabinoid system are highly expressed in the neural circuit of basal ganglia wherein they bidirectionally interact with dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and GABAergic signaling systems. As the cannabinoid signaling system undergoes a biphasic pattern of change during progression of PD, it explains the motor inhibition typically observed in patients with PD.
Development of safe, effective cannabis-based medicines targeting different mechanisms may have a significant impact in PD therapy.