Parkinson’s disease is a ravaging illness that affects approximately one percent of the adult population over 60 years old. Although much advancement has been made in the area of treatment, the disease remains without a cure. Fortunately, there are ways to manage the symptoms and help prevent Parkinson’s disease, and cannabidiol (CBD) may prove to be an important medicine in both of these efforts.
Parkinson’s disease causes problems with the areas of the brain the manufacture dopamine, which is a chemical necessary for directed motion. Because of these problems, individuals suffering from the disease have motor skills issues, such as tremors, and they also suffer from severe muscle stiffness and have trouble maintaining their balance.
Research on CBD as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease is limited, but there are studies. One demonstrates that CBD can be useful in helping delay symptoms from appearing when used early on in the disease’s development. In other words, CBD may be useful in a preventative fashion or during early onset of Parkinson’s to help keep symptoms at bay.
Additionally, CBD has been shown to aid in the sleep disorder caused by Parkinson’s disease known as REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD). One study demonstrated that four patients in the study who were suffering from Parkinson’s-disease induced RBD found relief from the RBD through the use of CBD.
CBD has also been shown to help alleviate some of the symptoms of psychosis sometimes brought on by Parkinson’s disease. In a study out of Brazil, researchers from the University of São Paulo in Brazil gave patients CBD for four weeks, after which they reported a decrease in the symptoms of psychosis. That said, other more-current studies have shown little effectiveness in using CBD in this context.
Until further studies are carried out, there will be confusion and anecdotal evidence to guide the use of CBD in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. What we can be sure of is that in some cases, CBD can help Parkinson’s sufferers. However, we just don’t know how, exactly… yet.
1- Chagas MH, Eckeli AL, Zuardi AW, et al. Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2014;39(5):564-6
2- Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, et al. Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease. J Psychopharmacol. 2009;23(8):979-83.