Does CBD Work For Parkinson’s Disease?

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Does CBD Work For Parkinson’s Disease?

From aiding sleep to soothing nerves, there are many reasons why people all over the world choose to take CBD.

Although store-bought CBD, such as Orange County CBD oil, is a food supplement, the CBD molecule itself has been subject to extensive research by scientists trying to discover all the ways it can help manage health.

In the UK, you can obtain CBD and whole-plant cannabis products (including therapeutic levels of THC) on prescription for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson’s.

But does CBD play a role in the ways in which cannabis can help with this life-changing disease? There’s still a lot more research to do, but according to studies performed so far, CBD does appear to hold potential via a range of mechanisms.


CBD for Parkinson’s: Dopamine

One of the lesser-known ways in which CBD affects the body is its interaction with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that has been found to be significantly depleted in people with Parkinson’s.

When you take a dose of CBD oil or treat yourself to a CBD gummy, a number of things happen. First and foremost, it supports higher production of your naturally produced endocannabinoids, which contributes to overall balance. But it also activates a variety of other receptors in the body, including serotonin, vanilloid and dopamine.

Unlike substances with addiction potential, which fully activate dopamine receptors, giving you a rush of a feel-good chemical that keeps you coming back for more, CBD partially activates dopamine receptors.

This unique action means that CBD provides a slight dopamine boost, something which could prove to be very helpful in the management of Parkinson’s disease.


CBD for Parkinson’s: Hallucinations

Although it must be stressed that store-bought CBD that is not prescribed is not considered a medicine, there are now some clinical trials underway to find out how this product might be of benefit to Parkinson’s patients. Another very exciting area of research, also related to dopamine, is one of the lesser-known symptoms of the disease - hallucinations.

Unfortunately, some people with Parkinson’s do suffer from hallucinations, which can, of course, be very disturbing. Until now, treatment for this involved blocking dopamine receptors, which, although helping with visual problems, would likely cause tremors to worsen.

Professor Sagnik Bhattacharyya and Dr. Latha Velayudhan at King's College London are currently testing whether CBD can treat symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. Stage 1 of the study, to determine the best dosage for this purpose, is already complete.

Unlike the low recommended daily dose of ‘high street’ CBD products, participants in the study will be given a single daily dose of 800mg of CBD.

In an interview with, professor Sagnik explained that CBD is “very poorly bioavailable, with only 6–13% of CBD that is taken getting into the bloodstream and little understood as to how much then gets to the brain, so there is very little CBD getting into the bloodstream from the dosing available on the high street”.

This is why, when taking CBD oil, it’s important to enhance bioavailability in any way you can, such as holding it under your tongue for at least a minute for sub-lingual absorption and taking it immediately after brushing your teeth, which increases blood flow to the mouth. This higher dosing is also a key difference between CBD, which is taken medically, and CBD, which is a food supplement.


Other Cannabinoids for Parkinson’s

As is so often the case, CBD is not the only cannabinoid showing promise in the treatment of Parkinson’s. Other cannabinoids, such as THC (which is only legal on prescription in the UK), may also offer some benefit.

One study found that CBD and Nabilone (a synthetic form of THC) were capable of consistently improving motor symptoms more than a placebo. All treatments improved various non-motor symptoms, particularly with cannabis improving pain intensity and CBD improving psychiatric symptoms in a dose-dependent manner.”

Minor cannabinoid CBG is also being studied for this need. So far, research has indicated that CBG may have therapeutic potential in treating neurologic disorders ( Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis) and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as having antibacterial activity.”

It’s likely that to see the best results from cannabis being used to treat Parkinson’s, researchers and drug developers will take the ‘entourage effect’ (the synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant) into account.

While the future looks bright in the realm of utilising cannabis and CBD oil to treat and manage Parkinson’s, there’s still a lot that remains unknown.

Research continues, and hopefully before long, we will have all the answers we need to be able to use this wonderful plant to the best of its potential.

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