Research suggests the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) may have the ability to treat symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease because of its neuroprotective and antipsychotic effects. It may also be able to help improve symptoms that interfere with sleep. One study from 2005 found CBD had neuroprotective benefits in animal models of Parkinson’s. The study believed these effects may be the result of CBD’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Through the studies, researchers suggested CBD could protect brains from progressive dopamine neuron loss. In 2007, the same researchers found CBD was most effective at protecting neurons if administered immediately after exposure to toxins.
Other studies have found CBD can improve movement impairments, psychosis, sleep disturbances, and quality of life for those with Parkinson’s disease. A study from 2017 found CBD improved movement impairments through blocking the receptor known as GPR6, which allows dopamine levels to increase. A 2009 trial published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found six patients with Parkinson’s who were given 150 mg/day of CBD for four weeks exhibited remarkable improvements in their psychotic symptoms. The cannabinoid was also safe and well-tolerated. Another trial from 2014 which involved 21 patients found CBD improved quality of life, likely due to the cannabinoid’s antidepressant, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and sedative effects. A series of case studies found daily doses of 75-300 mg CBD could reduce or eliminate REM sleep behavior disorder in patients.
THC may also help patients with Parkinson’s disease, and one study from 2014 found it improved movement dysfunction and overall movement deficiencies like tremor, rigidity, and slowed movements. It also helped with sleep disturbances and pain. THC on its own is a psychoactive cannabinoid, and can produce paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, and increase heart rate which could lead to heart attack. So, the cannabinoid alone may not be the preferred cannabinoid for many patients. That said, using a combination of THC and CBD may be appropriate for those users who want the ultimate relief, as CBD buffers against the effects of THC and the two together can provide benefits and can target a wider range of symptoms.
This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.