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Parkinson’s disease and CBD: New studies may reveal positive effects

New studies from Brazil and Italy show that CBD may help some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease



Parkinson's Disease: A bottle of yellow CBD oil sits on a wooden surface near two green cannabis leaves

Parkinson’s disease affects 145,000 in the UK. While there are currently no treatments that can slow the progression of the disease, two new studies have investigated if CBD may help.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a long-term neurological condition. It is progressive and symptoms get worse over time. PD patients experience a loss of nerve cells in the part of their brains responsible for controlling movements.

This part of the brain is called the substantial nigra, it is a small group of cells in the centre of the brain. The nerve cells produce the chemical dopamine which helps transmit messages from the brain to other parts of the body through the central nervous system. When the cells are lost, people with PD lose dopamine and as a result, the messages to control their movements stop being transmitted properly.

It is estimated that 1 in 37 people living in the UK will be diagnosed with PD. In England alone, there are approximately 121,000 patients.

Parkinson’s Disease study 1

Researchers in Brazil examined if CBD could help to improve sleep satisfaction in patients diagnosed with REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD).

RBD is a chronic sleep condition that causes dream enactment and loss of REM atonia. Patients can often cause injury to themselves or their partners due to violent movements during their sleep. The movements can be caused by vivid nightmares. RBD patients are at high risk for developing a neurodegenerative disease as over 70 percent develop PD or dementia within 12 years of a diagnosis.

The placebo-controlled study, published in the journal Movement Disorders, revealed that CBD may help. The researchers recruited 33 patients with RBD and PD.  Patients were given either CBD or placebo capsules and monitored for 14 weeks. In the CBD group, patients were 300 mg which was associated with temporary improvements to the subject’s average sleep satisfaction. They noted that CBD dosing did not cause any significant reductions for patients’ RBD frequency.

Another study

A new Italian study aimed to examine the effects of using CBD to treat PD associated neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory processes. The researchers investigated CBD for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

The study reported that the CBD treated animals showed a reduction of nigrostriatal degeneration accompanied by a damping of the neuroinflammatory response and improvement of motor performance.

The overall results supported the potential therapeutic use of CBD in PD as a neuroprotective and symptomatic agent.

Read more: Pain, Anxiety and sleep: the most common reasons people use CBD


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