cbd and parkinsons uk

Cbd and parkinsons uk

While the research on CBD to treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms is largely inconclusive, its mild effect on patients as a whole makes it enticing to try in addition to an existing traditional treatment plan. Parkinson’s disease has no cure. But with prescription medication, therapy, and now perhaps the use of nontraditional options like CBD, patients may be able to experience less frequency and severity of symptoms that affect their motor skills.

Since Parkinson’s disease can take some time to properly diagnose when the symptoms are already prevalent, using CBD once diagnosed may not offer much benefit. With early detection combined with the use of CBD together the possibility of reducing movement-related symptoms increases.

Parkinson’s disease can impact cognitive function and memory, particularly in those whose symptoms progress to Parkinson’s disease dementia. Because of this, medical marijuana with both THC and CBD may not be recommended, as it can impair thinking and brain function even more so. CBD by itself may be a safer route.

In some cases, people suffering from Parkinson’s disease may also have symptoms of psychosis, ranging in hallucinations to vivid dreams and illusions. Research has found that CBD may be able to help. In research out of University of São Paulo in Brazil, patients were given a dose of CBD starting out at 150 milligrams (mg) per day in addition to their current treatment plan of therapy for four weeks. The use of CBD showed no adverse effects, no impact on worsening motor function, and a decrease in their reported psychosis symptoms, meaning that not only can it help with the physical setbacks of Parkinson’s disease, it can also play a part in the cognitive challenges as well. This was however an older study and current clinical trial evidence to support the use of CBD is minimal.

Uses and Safety

Those dealing with Parkinson’s disease may also have trouble sleeping due to REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a condition in which patients ‘act out’ their dreams while asleep. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics found that four patients with Parkinson’s disease who also suffered from RBD had a decrease of RBD symptoms during sleep with the use of CBD.

The body of research on using CBD for Parkinson’s disease symptoms is rapidly growing, as Parkinson’s disease affects 1% of the population over 60 years old.   Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition, affecting the nervous system. Parts of the brain that produce dopamine, which is responsible for sending messages to the body in order to direct movement, become damaged or die. This results in tremors, muscle stiffness, the inability to use facial expressions, and trouble balancing.

In connection with Parkinson’s disease as well as other movement-related disorders, CBD may help improve motor skills. In one study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology CBD was shown to have a more preventative role in delaying abnormal movement symptoms in animal models of Parkinson's.  

The benefits and research around CBD are still emerging

What can cause side effects is if a patient decides to mix medical marijuana with their treatment plan that consists of certain prescription medications. If you plan to use medical marijuana as opposed to CBD by itself, it’s smart to consult a healthcare provider or your pharmacist before you start mixing it in with other medications to make sure it's safe for you.

Diana Apetauerova, MD, is board-certified in neurology with a subspecialty in movement disorders. She is an associate clinical professor of neurology at Tufts School of Medicine.

The three-and-a-half-year project is part of the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, led by Parkinson’s UK, which is plugging the funding gap in drug development and fast-tracking the projects with the greatest scientific potential to transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s.

“My doctor cut the dose in half, which stopped the hallucinations for now. The clinical trial is very exciting and if it provides evidence for the safety and effectiveness of CBD, it could benefit those affected by Parkinson’s-related psychosis.”

The Parkinson’s study, set to begin early next year, is the first large-scale trial which will aim to provide preliminary evidence for the potential benefits and safety of CBD to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s-related psychosis, characterised by hallucinations and delusions.

She said: “I would see animals running past me in the periphery of my vision every day. At the beginning I thought I was imagining it but then I realised it was a phenomenon. I knew it wasn’t real but it was the most bizarre feeling and I felt a bit scared.

‘Bizarre feeling’

The main symptoms – hallucinations and delusions – are typically managed with the removal of medication used to treat Parkinson’s.

If the symptoms persist, antipsychotic drugs are sometimes used, however this can result in worsened motor symptoms and side effects. In the UK, there are no medications licenced for Parkinson’s-related psychosis.

Parkinson’s patients will receive cannabis oil in a “pioneering” clinical trial that aims to demonstrate the benefits, safety and efficacy of the treatment to help with hallucinations and delusions, two frightening symptoms of the disease.

Affect of psychosis

Paula Scurfield, 71, from Beckenham, London, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014 after developing a very slight tremor on one side of her body. To treat the symptoms of slowness of movement, stiffness and rigidity in muscles and fatigue, she was given the drug Levodopa.

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “There are many unanswered questions about the value of CBD for people with Parkinson’s, but this trial will help us to determine whether it can help with the debilitating symptoms of hallucinations and delusions.