New Research Emerges Around CBD and Parkinson’s Disease

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Cannabinoids have incredible properties as shown by scientific research. Consumers have reported that CBD helps with depression, anxiety, and pain among other things. New research by Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine, University of São Paulo shows how CBD could be added to Parkinson’s disease medications. It can help patients feel better and tackle a broader range of symptoms beyond just those related to motor function. CBD attaches to receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) to block certain signals from reaching the brain. It can block sensory neurons from feeling pain stimuli and reduce pain that the system feels. Because CBD can block receptors, there is a potential to add it to different medications to enhance them in different ways.

Research

CBD (cannabidiol) is the second most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Research shows that those with Parkinson’s are placed on a dopamine regimen when they’re first diagnosed. This helps in the early stages with motor function, but doesn’t stop PD from progressing. It also doesn’t treat the non-motor symptoms that also come with Parkinson’s, like dementia, depression, anxiety, pain, and psychosis. These symptoms can be just as debilitating as the motor function compromise. Scientists posed the question of adding the cannabinoid CBD in addition to Parkinson’s disease medications. They wanted to see if that would help with the non-motor symptoms. 

The study, published by the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in March of 2020, conducted was unfortunately small and for a short duration of time. However, the general conclusion showed “reduced psychotic symptoms…with no influence on cognitive and motor signs and no severe side effects.” That means CBD helped with non-motor symptoms along with Parkinson’s disease meds. Many of those within the studies said that they began to feel better and had more control of themselves than they had previously had when just on Parkinson’s medication. 

Potential Benefit

Because of the improvement in non-motor symptoms, there is a positive potential to increase the quality of life for patients. While there is still no cure for Parkinson’s disease, the potential to reduce symptoms is a positive. It would allow patients to continue their lives normally.

Currently, longer study periods with larger patient groups are needed, but the potential is there. CBD appears to help patients and improve their lives. This could lead to longer lives for Parkinson’s patients, while research continues to find a cure. But in the meantime, knowing that there is a way to help patients is a great step forward.

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