CBD is short for cannabidiol, it is a natural compound found in cannabis plants. These compounds are known as cannabinoids and interact naturally with the endocannabinoid systems of animals and humans alike. Cannabis has well over a hundred of these compounds, although only a few are well known and widely studied. CBD is not to be confused with THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the ‘high’ feeling users experience from marijuana. While CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive effects THC does, it does provide the same health benefits as cannabis use. This is great news for people seeking relief via cannabis who still live in areas where marijuana is illegal.
Studies show CBD can help relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and offer other neuroprotective effects. In fact, the potential brain and nervous system benefits have garnered a lot of attention in recent years, especially for people with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease (PD). Although, research is fairly limited, some studies show promise for those who suffer with PD, and there are numerous testimonials from people who have tried it for themselves and experience great results. You just need to take a look at the anecdotal evidence for yourself on reputable message boards online.
If you’re a beginner with CBD, you may be curious about the best way to take it if you have Parkinson’s disease.
Forms of CBD:
- Vape Pens CBD oil can be vaporized and inhaled. The effects begin quickly if you use this route.
- Edibles Gummies are a popular CBD option. You can also find CBD in a number of other edible foods, though dosage may not be as accurate as in other forms. Edibles discretely deliver a dose of CBD.
- Capsules & Pills These can be useful for Parkinson’s patients who struggle with tremors that can make properly dosing a liquid difficult.
- Oils & Tinctures These are the liquid form of CBD and can be swallowed or taken sublingually (under the tongue).
- Topicals & Rubs While the effects of these products often take longer to be felt, they may be useful to treat pain or stiffness in the hands or joints as well as useful for headaches when rubbed into the temples.
CBD as a Treatment for Parkinson’s
How exactly might CBD help someone with symptoms of this progressive neurological disorder?
It’s difficult to answer this question because CBD hasn’t been used in people with Parkinson’s disease in long-term research studies. This is mainly because research into the benefits of this cannabinoid only began a few decades ago due to legality issues.
Unfortunately, that causes the research that does exist to be limited. Additionally the studies that have been conducted are generally of a smaller scale, and don’t necessarily offer a wide range of results.
In order to confirm real benefits, doctors and scientists need to conduct larger-scale studies on a longer timeline. However, the studies that do exist suggest CBD may have positive effects, especially when it comes to symptoms such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and pain.
A small study of 22 individuals with Parkinson’s found that using cannabis helped improve pain. It’s important to note however, that this study focused specifically on cannabis plants as a whole. Primarily marijuana, which contains both CBD and THC.
But other studies have suggested CBD alone has benefits for reducing pain and inflammation, two factors that can affect people with PD regularly.
Can CBD Help With Tremors?
Common medicines and treatments for Parkinson’s patients can often cause side effects like tremors or uncontrolled muscle movements. This is very unfortunate for patients as those symptoms are one of the main things they would like to have relief from. As a possible solution, an older, smaller study has suggested that CBD may be able to help ease these muscle movements.
Lack of quality sleep is a serious concern for people with Parkinson’s disease. Movement during sleep, is common and can often cause restlessness. Several studies have found CBD promotes restful sleep and can help promote restful sleep.
Unfortunately, one possible result of Parkinson’s disease complications can be psychosis. This condition can cause delirium, hallucinations and delusions. As may be expected it tends to be more common in the later stages of the disease, especially among the elderly.
Sadly, up to half of the people with PD will experience this complication at some point in their lives.
Medications are available to treat psychosis, but often have negative side effects, and may even worsen the condition. This has lead some people to ask if CBD might be a viable alternative due to the fact that negative side effects are rare and generally mild. In fact, a 2009 study regarding individuals with Parkinson’s disease looked specifically at the psychotic symptoms. The results were that the compound did reduce the severity of symptoms and didn’t cause any adverse effects.
Quality of Life
Researchers have suggested that using CBD might help improve quality of life because of the many potential benefits it has for people with Parkinson’s.
One study that looked specifically at people who have Parkinson’s disease without psychiatric symptoms, reported patients experienced improved quality of life with CBD use as a direct result of symptom reduction. However, this study was done with a very small group of people, so further research is needed to adequately support the findings.
CBD for Parkinson’s Prevention
While some scientists believe that CBD may be able to help prevent Parkinson’s disease, so far the only research that has been done has been in animal studies.
Unfortunately, the research also suggests that once PD begins there is little CBD can do to help stop it, but on the bright side at least it has been shown to help reduce some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It may still be useful as a preventive measure, but more research is required as human studies that have been done didn’t return significant results. More research is required to understand why the compound might have differing effects in animals and humans.
The reason why this research is difficult to conduct is that it’s still currently hard to know who will develop Parkinson’s and who will not. Knowing who could benefit from CBD prevention measures is still difficult to determine. This makes it so preventive strategies are few and far between, so it’s important to keep in mind is that most clinical trials only use CBD after a diagnosis is made. Often times by the time an individual begins showing signs of Parkinson’s disease, it’s often too late to test to see if CBD will have any preventative effects.
Does CBD Have Side Effects?
Generally CBD is well tolerated. In most of the studies that have been conduced, it rarely caused side effects. If side effects are felt, they tend to be mild. They include lethargy, changes in digestion or appetite, and nausea.
It’s extremely important to note that CBD can interact with prescription medications, so you should always talk to your doctor before using CBD if you’re currently taking prescriptions, especially those metabolized in the liver.
CBD oil for Parkinson’s holds a great deal of promise for people with the disease. On example of this is the fact that it has been endorsed by Micheal J. Fox, a celebrity who suffers with the degenerative disease. Although, it’s important to remember that the studies that have been conducted are small. While there is a large amount of anecdotal evidence, larger, more in-depth studies are needed before CBD gets the go-ahead from doctors in the FDA. So far, the results have been promising, so there there is hope.