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Cannabidiol as a Supplement for People with Parkinson's Disease

Posted by Seth B on

Parkinson's disease is a growing health risk in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control has stated that Parkinson's entered the 15 leading causes of death in the United States as of 2012. They have also reported that this disease's mortality rate has been increasing significantly each year, with people becoming more likely to develop it as they get older. According to the Parkinson Association, there are at least 60,000 new cases of the condition in the United States each year. The way that Parkinson's disease develops is not well-understood, meaning that treatment for this disease generally focuses on providing symptom relief instead of prevention or cures.

This neurodegenerative disease is characterized by a range of severe symptoms that worsen over time as the condition progressively damages brain tissue. Because it mostly targets the motor neurons of the brain, Parkinson's disease often causes problems like shaking, muscle stiffness, and difficulties executing smooth, controlled movements. These symptoms may be accompanied by issues that are more psychological, such as sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression. Each person who develops Parkinson's experiences distinct sets of symptoms.

Researchers have examined whether cannabidiol (CBD) might have effects on some of the problems seen in Parkinson's Disease. One of the issues that people with Parkinson's frequently encounter are sleep disorders; more specifically, REM sleep behavior disorders, which affect the signals sent to muscles during REM sleep. Patients with these disorders have been known to kick, push, swing their arms, and even yell and swear during REM sleep, leading to a lack of restful sleep for themselves and their partners. The go-to pharmacological treatment for these disorders, benzodiazepines, can be addictive, and are not always effective.

A recent study by Chagas et al. documented that some patients with Parkinson's had used CBD to treat their sleep disorders. The researchers then treated four patients using CBD oil over the course of six weeks, and Chagas et al. noted that the four individuals had “prompt and substantial reductions” in their adverse sleep behaviors. While every person is different, and larger-scale studies will be needed to determine the potential benefits of CBD for sleep disorders in Parkinson's patients, these results are promising.

Some of the neuronal damage from Parkinson's disease seems to be caused by iron accumulation. While iron is a necessary nutrient, too much of it in the wrong places in the body can be harmful. In rat models, an overabundance of iron causes damage by making cells express proteins like hippocampal DNM1L and caspase 3. These proteins, in large amounts, essentially cause cells to self-destruct. Research by da Silva et al. examined the effects of CBD on rat models that were exposed to too much iron, and overexpressing hippocampal DNM1L and caspase 3. After receiving controlled amounts of CBD, the rats' levels of these proteins went back down to normal levels.

More studies are required to examine whether these results are typical for most people using CBD, but these initial results are exciting for those people suffering from Parkinson's disease. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson's, you may consider looking into CBD as a daily supplement. DiscoverCBD offers CBD in many forms, including tinctures and oils, at levels comparable to those used in the aforementioned studies.

Do you have a question or comment about CBD? Let us know, and we will respond right away. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletters and visit our website regularly for the latest updates on research, legislation, and other news impacting you and cannabidiol.

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