What is Parkinson’s Disease?
An estimated 10 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease, which is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Parkinson’s disease in itself is not fatal for those who suffer from it, however, the secondary effects can drastically affect one’s quality of life. Parkinson’s disease affects the individual through a part of the brain which is responsible for manufacturing dopamine; a neurotransmitter linked to hormone balance, focus, and motor function.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
Poor focus or concentration
Sleep behaviour disorders
Loss of sense of smell
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but there are ways to relieve the symptoms.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a phytocannabinoid which is extracted from the hemp plant (part of the cannabis family). This is one of more than over a hundred cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, and CBD in particular is renowned for its therapeutic benefits.
Unlike medical marijuana (also a part of the cannabis family) hemp does not have a mind-altering effect. This is due to the absence of the phytocannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) - which is the psychoactive element associated with medical marijuana.
Phytocannabinoids interact with the human body through a set of receptors which make up the endocannabinoid system. These receptors are present in the nervous system, immune system, and skin. Consequently, they have a wide reaching effect.
How could CBD help with Parkinson’s disease?
Neuro-inflammation is a side effect which is closely associated with Parkinson’s disease; due to the progression of damage to the neurons which produce dopamine, inflammation becomes more severe. The neurodegenerative process in the brain may intensify alongside signs of inflammation, which will aggravate the patient's overall condition. CBD works as a natural anti-inflammatory by mediating the inflammatory process pathways.
Tremors are uncontrollable movements which can affect any part of the body. Tremor’s caused by Parkinson’s disease can appear as either a resting tremor, when the body is relaxed or an action tremor when you’re performing an action. Early research into the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for movement disorders has looked into how CBD could improve muscle tremors in mice - with promising results.1
Due to the intense, and often abundant, side effects of Parkinson’s disease - as well as potential mood imbalances, depression is sometimes a result of the disease. CBD acts in the same way as antidepressants by regulating the production of serotonin (the chemical linked to happiness).2
Sleep quality and insomnia
Due to symptoms such as involuntary muscle movement, muscle contractions, cramps, tremors, medication side effects, depression, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, and REM (rapid eye movement) - sleep loss and insomnia can be a much felt secondary effect of Parkinson’s disease. CBD has mild sedative properties,3 as well as showing promising results for reducing anxiety and improving sleep.4
Low dopamine production from brain neurons is one of the top causes for Parkinson’s symptoms. In a preclinical study published in 2018, CBD was seen to improve dopamine production in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients.5 Regulating the production will help balance hormones, and improve focus motor function.
How to use CBD
Full spectrum and dosage
When looking for CBD products it is important to specify what kind of extract you are purchasing. If an extract is labeled as ‘isolate’ this means that the only cannabinoid present is CBD. However, research has found that when all the cannabinoids are kept together, as they are in the hemp plant, they work synergistically enhancing the impact.
Knowing the dosage of your CBD extract is crucial so you can find your optimum dosage. This is different for everyone, so start of low, and increase slowly - making note of the effects.
CBD is available in various different forms, which means there is a product for everyone. CBD oil is amongst the most popular, due to its purity and versatility. The natural compound is also available in capsules, raw hemp extract, e-liquid, and skincare.
Speak to doctor
Before starting or changing any medication, it is strongly advisable that you speak with your doctor or healthcare professional to discuss the best course of action for your condition.
Currently, we await more extensive research on CBD Oil for Parkinson's. However, preliminary studies are showing CBD to be a highly promising natural treatment method for the symptoms and side effects of Parkinson’s disease. As of yet, there is no cure for Parkinson’s, and CBD Oil will not act in this way - but it is suggested that it could treat and relieve symptoms, making living with the condition easier.