Cannabidiol (CBD) can provide relief for Parkinson’s patients. This was shown in a study by the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora (USA). The motor symptoms of the disease were reduced, but also nighttime sleep and emotional disturbances improved significantly. However, liver enzymes elevated in some participants of the study due to the high dosage.
People with Parkinson’s disease can benefit from CBD
In the study, 13 people with PD and substantial rest tremor received herbal, highly purified CBD (Epidiolex; 100 mg/mL). The CBD extract was titrated from 5 to 20-25 mg per kilogram of body weight and maintained for 10 to 15 days. The patients had an average age of 68 years.
All 13 participants in the study reported mild side effects, such as diarrhoea (85%), somnolence (69%), fatigue (62%), weight gain (31%), dizziness (23%), abdominal pain (23%) and headache, weight loss, nausea, anorexia and increased appetite (5% each). Elevated liver enzymes occurred in five people, representing 38.5% of the total group.
Three people dropped out of the study due to intolerances. The remaining ten achieved an improvement in overall and motor scores. Other positive results were that nightly sleep and emotional or behavioural control disorders improved significantly. The researchers therefore conclude that CBD in the form of Epidiolex may be effective in PD. However, the relatively high dose used in this study was also associated with increases in liver enzymes.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. In Germany, about one percent of people over 60 are affected by the incurable disease. The medical treatment options are limited. Therapy is primarily aimed at alleviating the symptoms and improving the quality of life of those affected.
At the beginning of the disease, the symptoms are non-specific. These include pain in the shoulder or neck area or in the back, as well as a slowing down and decrease in movement. In addition, there is a rest tremor that begins on one side. In the course of the disease, the gait pattern changes. Those affected bend forward and take only small, short steps.
In addition to motor symptoms, sleep disturbances, pain in muscles and joints and depressive moods may occur. Later, affect lability, apathy, anxiety disorders and dementia may develop. These non-motor symptoms should not be underestimated, as they often severely limit the patient’s quality of life.
Leehey MA, Liu Y, Hart F, Epstein C, Cook M, Sillau S, Klawitter J, Newman H, Sempio C, Forman L, Seeberger L, Klepitskaya O, Baud Z, Bainbridge J. Safety and Tolerability of Cannabidiol in Parkinson Disease: An Open Label, Dose-Escalation Study. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2020;5(4):326-336.