CBD Oil for Parkinson’s: Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects
With prescription medication even further deteriorating the sufferer’s quality of life, it’s no wonder then that more and more patients and caregivers are turning to alternative treatments, such as using CBD oil for Parkinson’s.
Over 10 million people across the world are living with Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are recorded every year in the US alone. This is a large share of the population affected by a disease that is chronic, progressive, and incurable.
But can CBD help, and how much can it do for people living with PD? Before we answer this question, let’s take a closer look at Parkinson’s and its symptoms.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes dopamine-producing cells in the brain to die.
Though symptoms can vary, the most common signs of PD include tremors, slowed movement, slurred speech, and muscle stiffness.
Other non-motor symptoms of this condition can range from sleep disorders and depression to weight loss and chronic fatigue, as well as psychosis and hallucinations.
What Benefits Can You Claim If You Have Parkinson’s?
According to the SSA Listings for Disability, Parkinson’s patients can apply for disabilities provided that they meet one of the following criteria:
- Inability to control the movement of at least two extremities
- Difficulties in maintaining balance
Parkinson’s is not fatal, however, it can increase the risk of other life-threatening conditions, like blood clots or pneumonia, particularly during the later stages of the disease.
What Is the Typical Treatment for PD?
The most commonly prescribed treatment for Parkinson’s is Carbidopa-levodopa or Sinemet (so far, there aren’t any known interactions between CBD oil and Sinemet — yet another reason why CBD could be a viable treatment option for Parkinson’s disease).
Levodopa is a natural chemical that the body converts to dopamine and is used in combination with carbidopa to slow down some of the effects.
In addition to dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and headaches, one of the more prevalent side-effects of levodopa is Dyskinesia (jerky, involuntary movements) which occurs as a result of prolonged use.
Another problem with this Parkinson’s disease treatment is that levodopa does very little to alleviate some of the nonmotor symptoms of the condition.
How To Use CBD Oil for Parkinson’s?
One of the most important roles of our body’s endocannabinoid system is the control of movement, which has led experts to examine the link between ECS and motor disorders, commonly associated with diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.
In addition, researchers believe that there is a direct relationship between the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and the neurons affected by these degenerative illnesses.
However, despite the connection between cannabinoids, like with CBD and Parkinson’s, there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence for the FDA or medical professionals to approve the use of cannabidiol as a treatment for PD. More research is needed, experts say, to determine the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD oil
What Are the Biggest Obstacles in Doing More Medical Marijuana Research in Relation to Parkinson’s?
The legal status of cannabis is one of the biggest hurdles in researching medical marijuana benefits. Unless cannabis is legalized on a federal level, studies on Parkinson’s and CBD will continue to be limited.
Another issue is the stigma still associated with cannabis use and the lack of education among healthcare professionals over the benefits of medical marijuana. For instance, only 23% of physicians have had formal education on MM, resulting in just 10% of medical professionals recommending cannabis to PD patients.
Nevertheless, cannabis is considered an effective treatment by many PD sufferers as 80% of those living with this condition have used various types of medical marijuana for their condition.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and CBD Oil
Tremors and CBD
Tremors are one of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s and also one of the most troublesome. Typically, tremors affect PD patients while they are resting or sleeping and they usually occur in the extremities, although internal tremor (in the chest or abdomen) is also reported by some PD sufferers.
Like some other symptoms of PD, studies have been done to determine if CBD oil has any effect on tremors, however, no significant improvements were found from administering pure CBD for Parkinson’s tremors. On the other hand, a combination of THC and CBD was shown to significantly improve resting tremors and rigidity with little or no side-effects.
One of the medical benefits of THC and CBD is anxiety relief, which is important for PD patients as stress and anxiety can increase the frequency and intensity of tremors.
There might not be enough scientific data to support the medical use of marijuana for Parkinson’s tremors, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to show otherwise. In fact, there are numerous users of CBD oil for Parkinson’s who say that medical cannabis has offered considerable relief from tremors.
CBD for Sleep Issues
Sleep disruptions, such as vivid dreams, nightmares, or RLS (restless leg syndrome), as well as difficulties falling and staying asleep, often accompany Parkinson’s disease.
Cannabidiol is already known to induce sleep and treat some of the symptoms of sleeplessness, while a 2014 observational study went a step further and showed considerable improvements in sleep scores among the 22 PD participants included in the research.
Parkinson’s and CBD Oil for Pain Management
Despite the fact that pain is not usually associated with this disease, almost 75% of PD patients experience some type of discomfort during the course of the condition, mostly as a result of rigidity, or muscle stiffness.
The above-mentioned study also showed that the use of medicinal marijuana (which contains both THC and CBD) helped patients manage their pain better, whereas studies conducted on animals indicate that CBD treatment alone, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, can reduce pain and inflammation.
CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Hallucinations and Psychosis
It is estimated that around a third of patients with Parkinson’s also experience psychosis, most commonly hallucinations and delusions. Psychosis in PD patients becomes more severe the longer a person lives with the disease, while in some cases it can be caused by the very medication used to treat the condition.
Can CBD help with PD-related psychosis?
In a small 2009 study, 6 PD patients, suffering from psychosis for at least 3 months, were given an oral dose of CBD for 4 weeks. The results from this research on CBD and Parkinson’s on the NIH website showed a considerable decrease in psychotic symptoms. What’s more, the study didn’t find any adverse effects from CBD use on motor functions or negative effects on general well-being and health.
Last year, a new clinical trial was announced at King’s College London, the UK, that will test the possible effects of CBD on hallucinations and delusions among people suffering from Parkinson’s. Hopefully, this research, and others like it, will help generate more interest and encourage more studies into the benefits of CBD oil for Parkinson’s.
CBD Improves Quality of Life with PD
Living with Parkinson’s isn’t easy. This disease, which only gets worse with time, can seriously jeopardize a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Luckily, studies show that CBD treatment can offer some relief.
For instance, a study of 21 PD patients who were given CBD and a placebo found that the participants who received CBD experienced improvements in their quality of life after just 6 weeks.
Another study on CBD oil and Parkinson’s that included 119 patients also pointed out that CBD plays a significant role in the patients’ well-being and their quality of life. In this study, participants were given a placebo and CBD (either 75 mg/day or 300 mg/day) and although motor and general symptoms did not improve, findings showed a higher quality of life scores.
CBD Oil as Prevention for Parkinson’s
There are some indications that CBD use could prevent PD, however, up to now, research has only been conducted on animals and more data is needed to determine whether these claims hold any promise.
How to Administer CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease?
There are several ways that one can take CBD:
- CBD oils and tinctures — These liquids can be used sublingually (a few drops are placed under the tongue and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream), or they can be added to food or beverages. Oils and tinctures can also be applied to the skin, which is recommended for PD patients suffering from localized pain and muscle stiffness.
- Capsules and pills — This form of CBD administration is especially helpful to PD patients who cannot properly dose liquids as a result of tremors. The effect when taking CBD oil for Parkinson’s with pills and capsules is a bit delayed, but once it kicks in, it can be felt for 4 hours or longer.
- Edibles — Although they can be effective, edibles are not recommended for people with Parkinson’s because the dosage might not be as accurate as with other methods of administration.
- Smoking cannabis — Cannabis can be smoked, vaped or inhaled, though experts advise PD patients to avoid smoking as it may cause damage to the lungs or throat.
CBD Oil Recommended Dosage for Parkinson’s
How much and how often can you take CBD oil? Don’t start with too much too soon. When it comes to PD (and other diseases too), it’s best to start with low doses and work your way up if necessary.
The baseline dosage, around 2 to 5 mg, two or three times a day, should be maintained for about seven days after which patients can increase the dosage by 1 to 2 mg a day if they are not seeing benefits. On the other hand, if they believe that their CBD dosage for Parkinson’s is too much, the dosage can be decreased.
Some studies indicate that 150 mg over the course of four weeks alleviates psychotic symptoms, while 75 to 300 mg of CBD oil improves REM sleep disorders, albeit the dosage may vary according to body weight and method of consumption.
The good news is that most CBD products on the market either contain the required dose (edibles, pills, and vapes) or come with droppers (oils and tinctures), making dosing CBD oil relatively easy and straightforward.
Which CBD Oil Is Best For Parkinson’s Disease?
Getting the best CBD oil for your condition depends on many factors, and the only way you can make sure that you buy a high-quality product is to shop smart:
- Read the label. Carefully check how much CBD (and what kind: isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum) and THC the product contains.
- Check for third-party testing. Companies that have independent evaluation facilities test their products usually provide higher quality.
- Check online CBD oil for Parkinson’s reviews to make an informed and educated decision.
- Check the sourcing location. Where the product comes from and how the plant is grown is important. Some states require growers to adhere to stricter quality assurance regulations regarding the use of pesticides or chemicals.
- Check the oil type. Full or broad-spectrum CBD oil will probably be a better option than an isolate.
- Choose where you buy CBD. Although online purchases are a good option, the best place to find CBD oil for Parkinson’s for sale is from licensed dispensaries. This way you know what you are buying and you are less likely to get into any trouble over potential legal issues.
Side Effects of CBD
Most of the research conducted on cannabidiol shows that CBD treatment is usually well-tolerated with little or no side effects. Admittedly, not everyone reacts the same and there can be some unwanted effects, such as changes in appetite, fatigue, and nausea.
To Sum Up
Does CBD oil help with Parkinson’s? Yes, thanks to its sedative and anti-inflammatory effects, cannabidiol has the potential to offer relief from some of the most disruptive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Nevertheless, more research is needed not just to substantiate anecdotal accounts but to also discover other beneficial properties of CBD.
With science becoming more interested in cannabidiol and its effects, and patients shifting their focus to natural and alternative remedies, as opposed to traditional medication, there is hope that someday CBD oil for Parkinson’s will be approved as a valid treatment.