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CBD and Parkinson’s Disease

3 mins read

Although there is limited research into CBD and Parkinson’s Disease, some of the evidence that has emerged remains promising and offers some hope to those managing and caring for the well-being of someone struggling with the debilitating effects of PD. Parkinson’s disease has two broad symptomatic areas where the effects of the disease are most apparent: Primary Motor Symptoms and Non-primary Motor Symptoms; let’s examine each of these in turn.

 

Primary Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

The American Parkinson’s Disease Association lists four primary symptoms of PD:

 

Tremor

There is a “classic” rhythmic tremor to Parkinson’s disease, which usually begins in one limb, or foot/hand and gradually starts to affect both sides of the body. Commonly called “A resting tremor,” this tremor can occur in the mouth, or jaw and some PD patients even report an “internal tremor,” which they can feel is not so apparent to outside observers.

 

Bradykinesia (slow movement) 

The characteristic Bradykinesia of PD is evident in the often mask-like expression of the patient’s face, with a low blink rate. Patients with bradykinesia typically also have trouble with fine motor skills (tying a tie, buttoning a shirt, doing up shoelaces).

 

Postural instability (problems with balancing properly)

PD patients often demonstrate a postural instability which manifests as the inability to hold an upright posture in a way that would prevent them from falling over. There is a tendency for the patient to list easily and fall at the slightest touch.

 

Rigidity

PD is characterized by stiffness or a fixedness of the patient’s limbs, torso, or appendages. This rigidity is sometimes misdiagnosed in the early stages of PD as an arthritic condition or an orthopedic issue.

 

Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease:

Some of the more obvious non-motor symptoms of this debilitating disease include:

 

Although Parkinson’s is typically observed as a motor disease, these non-motor symptoms are also helpful indicators that PD may be present and help us understand how PD affects an individual’s functioning and quality of life.

CBD and Parkinson’s Disease

Although we lack conclusive, long-term studies into the effect of CBD on Parkinson’s disease, some smaller-scale studies have emerged suggesting that there may be some merit to using CBD in the treatment of Parkinson’s symptoms. However, much more research will be needed here before we can draw meaningful conclusions about the efficacy of CBD on Parkinson’s.

 

The APDA reports that in 2015, in recognition of the frustration of researchers and Parkinson’s patients alike, the FDA changed some of its regulations to make it easier to study CBD in clinical trials. Although studies have been limited, we do know that CBD has been implicated in reducing psychotic symptoms associated with PD from one study; a very small study into patients with a REM sleep disorder demonstrated that the CBD drug Epidolex was helpful in reducing these symptoms; and finally, a slightly larger study with 21 individuals showed that CBD did not effectively treat the motor functioning of PD patients, although they did report an improvement in their overall quality of life.

 

CBD for Parkinson’s Disease: The Bottom Line

Although a quick internet search can net you a million or so results on using CBD for Parkinson’s disease, and we do know from anecdotal sources that PD patients have experimented with CBD to treat some of the symptoms of the disease, we still require objective, conclusive evidence to understand what role, if any, CBD may play in the future of the management of Parkinson’s disease. 

For example, an obvious CBD intervention point would be in the management of tremor and rigidity, insomnia, sleep, and pain. However, the lack of clinical data makes any suggestion of the efficacy of CBD in these areas a hit-and-miss affair, and what works for one patient may not necessarily work for another. With a paucity of clinical evidence, there is also a genuine lack of knowledge around how CBD side effects (nausea, fatigue, conflict with other medications, for example) may affect PD patients, especially given the miasma of motor and non-motor symptoms they are already struggling with.

At present, the best recommendation would be to talk this over with a healthcare practitioner to get the best possible advice for your case. Accurate, hands-on medical guidance here seems to be the most practical route to understanding if a cold-pressed CBD oil will help or hinder the management of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

 

Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner to make sure that CBD oil is the right choice for you.

 

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