Can CBD Help with Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination. People with Parkinson’s also may suffer from depression, anxiety, apathy, irritability, pain, and difficulty sleeping. Many people with the disease go on to develop Parkinson’s Disease dementia.[1]

Over one million people in the United State are living with the disorder, though the figures could be even higher.  Each year, 600,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s with the incidence 1.5 times more likely to affect men than women.  The onset is more likely to occur with age, although an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before age 50.[2]

Currently there is no standard treatment for the disease. An individual’s symptoms will determine the best treatment, which could include medication and surgical therapy. Changes in lifestyle, including more rest and exercise, also are recommended for dealing with Parkinson’s. [3]

As with many medical conditions, research is being conducted with CBD to see if it can help with the disease. CBD interacts with two of the body’s cannabinoid receptors found on certain cells called CB1 and CB2. By interacting with one or both of these receptors, CBD may be able to delay tremor development as well as have protective neurological benefits, but there is no conclusive evidence yet and patients may react differently to the cannabidiol.[4]

CBD Parkinson’s Research Studies

  • A study in 2009 found that CBD may be effective, safe and well tolerated for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease. Six consecutive outpatients diagnosed with Parkinson’s and who had psychosis for at least 3 months were selected for the study. All patients received CBD in flexible dose (started with an oral dose of 150 mg/day) for 4 weeks, in addition to their usual therapy. The psychotic symptoms showed a significant decrease under CBD treatment. [5] 
  • A study conducted in 2020 and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that CBD reduced the anxiety and tremors of the test subjects who had Parkinson’s. This study aimed to evaluate the impacts of acute CBD administration at a dose of 300 mg on anxiety measures and tremors induced by a Simulated Public Speaking Test (SPST) in individuals with Parkinson’s. The study found that acute CBD administration at a dose of 300 mg decreased anxiety in patients with the disease, and there also was decreased tremor amplitude in an anxiety-causing situation.[6]  
  • Another study pointed to the possible effect of CBD in improving quality of life measures in Parkinson’s patients with no psychiatric comorbidities. [7] 
  • One of the significant symptoms of Parkinson’s is sleep problems. Some research indicates that the cannabinoid CBD may interact with specific receptors, potentially affecting the sleep/wake cycle. 

Anyone with Parkinson’s interested in trying CBD to manage symptoms should first talk with their physician about possible side effects and drug interactions.  A doctor also will be able to advise what is the best dosage for their particular condition and monitor progress.

 

[1] “CBD: A Natural Remedy that Decreases Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms?” Dementia Care Central, Accessed October 1, 2021. https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/parkinsons/treating/cbd/#medicare
[2] “Statistics,” Parkinson’s Foundation, Accessed October 1, 2021. https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Statistics
[3] IBID
[4] Travers, Colleen, “Using CBD to Treat Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms,” October 3, 2019. https://www.verywellhealth.com/cbd-to-treat-parkinsons-disease-4705536
[5] Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, Pinto JP, Chagas MH, Rodrigues GG, Dursun SM, Tumas V. Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson's disease. J Psychopharmacol. 2009 Nov;23(8):979-83. doi: 10.1177/0269881108096519. Epub 2008 Sep 18. PMID: 18801821. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18801821/
 
[6] de Faria SM, de Morais Fabrício D, Tumas V, et al. Effects of acute cannabidiol administration on anxiety and tremors induced by a Simulated Public Speaking Test in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2020;34(2):189-196. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269881119895536
 
[7] Chagas MH, Zuardi AW, Tumas V, Pena-Pereira MA, Sobreira ET, Bergamaschi MM, dos Santos AC, Teixeira AL, Hallak JE, Crippa JA. Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease: an exploratory double-blind trial. J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Nov;28(11):1088-98. doi: 10.1177/0269881114550355. Epub 2014 Sep 18. PMID: 25237116. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25237116/