Over the last ten years, there has been a steady increase in CBD research and personal consumption. In addition to this cannabinoid’s interesting role as a dietary supplement, preliminary studies are uncovering ways in which CBD could treat or alleviate the symptoms of various diseases. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that provides a series of effects that are both decisive and difficult to quantify. Even so, as access to quality CBD increases, science tries to pinpoint the ways in which this cannabinoid could be harnessed for our benefit.
One of the disorders that is receiving this type of attention is Parkinson’s. As a debilitating neurodegenerative disease, sufferers want to know if CBD has the potential to help them.
Cannabidiol – basic information
CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in hemp, of which there are around 100. Aside from its preponderance in samples of plant material, one reason why CBD has aroused the interest of researchers is its nature. not psychotropic. Unlike THC, a very abundant cannabinoid in recreational cannabis, CBD does not get you high. Therefore, its scientific research is less restricted, and more and more people are consuming this compound without running the risk of side effects. CBD is non-toxic, well tolerated, and taken as a dietary supplement to support daily health and well-being.
In the medical field, CBD could be just as beneficial, as it has been shown to reduce inflammation, anxiety, nausea, etc., in both human and animal models. Even so, many of the major studies on the medicinal properties of CBD are still ongoing, which means that we have to use the information that is already available to us to understand its effect on numerous diseases, including Parkinson’s.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s is a chronic degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, which mainly affects motor activity and worsens over time. Its symptoms can be divided into three groups: primary movers, secondary movers, and non-motors. Primary motor symptoms are those that appear early in the disease, such as tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty walking. These primary motor symptoms are called “parkinsonism.” As the disease progresses, other symptoms may appear, of which dementia is one of the most common.
In most patients, Parkinson’s is idiopathic, that is, it has no known cause. However, it is believed to be related to genetic and environmental factors. Although PD is not considered a strictly genetic disorder, 15% of people who have it have a first-degree relative with the same condition. As far as environmental factors are concerned, there appears to be a link between PD and pesticide exposure, as well as head injury.
Parkinson’s affects neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Most of these neurons produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that sends signals to other nerve cells. The brain is connected by five pathways through which dopamine is sent, and PD affects all of them. As Parkinson’s progresses, the amount of dopamine produced by the brain decreases, making the patient unable to control their movements (and other functions). Lewy bodies are another key aspect of Parkinson’s disease. These are pathological protein aggregates that develop in neurons and could be responsible for cell death.
Today there are more than 10 million people with Parkinson’s disease, which affects more men than women. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is between 7 and 14 years, and there is no known cure. However, there are medications, surgery, and other remedies that can provide some relief from symptoms. One of those methods could be CBD.
CBD and Parkinson’s disease
A recent study carried out in Brazil demonstrated that a daily cannabidiol-based treatment improved the well-being and quality of life of patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Twenty-one patients received CBD gelatin capsules for a period of 6 weeks. They were given three doses: 300mg daily, 75mg daily, and a placebo for the control group. The patients who experienced the greatest improvement were those who had received the 300mg dose. However, we must point out that the treatment did not reduce the disease itself, but only some of its symptoms. In addition, it is possible that the small group size limited the results.
Additional research indicates that CBD has the potential to reduce PD-related motor symptoms, especially levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID). DIL is a form of dyskinesia caused by dopamine therapy, a very common treatment for PD sufferers. CBD could act as a complement to already existing treatments, or as a possible future treatment. On the other hand, animal studies indicate that cannabis compounds could slow the progression of PD and other neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia. At this time, more studies are needed to determine the specific role of CBD. Parkinson’s disease is an enigmatic disorder that is difficult to define and treat.
What is clear is that the scope of CBD’s potential shows no sign of running out. Despite the hurdles, we’re sure this won’t be the last time CBD will be looked at as a possible treatment for Parkinson’s. PD is a constant reminder that cannabinoid research is essential to uncovering an appropriate treatment for one of the most debilitating and perplexing neurodegenerative diseases out there.