Can cannabidiol (CBD) treat Parkinson’s symptoms?

In a world first clinical trial, researchers will test whether cannabidiol (CBD) can treat Parkinson’s psychosis symptoms with the help of the Virtual Biotech.

What's CBD?

CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike another component, THC, CBD is non-addictive and doesn’t cause intoxication. You may have already heard of it because of its potential as a treatment for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. 

Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of Parkinson’s. Around 60% of people experience these distressing symptoms. Current treatments can make other Parkinson’s symptoms worse, as they block dopamine receptors in the brain. This makes this research even more exciting as the existing information we have on CBD suggests it has no side effects.

 

What’s the Virtual Biotech? 

The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech is our best chance of turning promising discoveries into real treatments for people with Parkinson’s.

A biotech is a company that uses the latest technology and expertise to take the best scientific discoveries and turn them into new medical treatments.

Our Virtual Biotech operates in the same way but instead of doing it for profit, like a standard biotech, we’re doing it for people affected by Parkinson's. We don’t own our own labs, hi-tech specialist equipment or employ a team of scientists because this would be enormously expensive. Instead, we’re taking an efficient approach. Partnering with institutions and pharmaceutical companies worldwide that already have the expertise, tools and infrastructure. In a chronically underfunded area, this means more money can be put into promising treatments.

This project is the first clinical trial to go through the Virtual Biotech and the 6th project overall. 

Watch the video below to find out more about the Parkinson's Virtual Biotech. 

What's next?

Over the next 3.5 years, Dr Sagnik Bhattacharyya and Dr Latha Velayudhan at Kings College London will test whether CBD helps psychosis symptoms. During this test, they’re aiming to find out how safe the drug is, if it does have any side effects, the best way to administer the drug and the ideal dosage.

Once the researchers know whether it improves psychosis symptoms, the treatment would progress to a phase 2 clinical trial, on a much larger scale.  

Currently, there is no treatment for these symptoms that doesn’t have adverse effects. 

This pioneering research could be life-changing for people with Parkinson’s facing symptoms of psychosis. Donate now and be part of the science accelerating these research breakthroughs.

 

How can cannabidiol affect Parkinson’s symptoms. 

Current treatments for psychosis work by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain, which can make other symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as a tremor, worse. What's exciting about cannabidiol is that it seems to act in a different way without causing any other side effects. However, the clinical trial will investigate how accurate this is for people with Parkinson's. 

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“There is a particular unmet need for novel treatments for people who experience psychosis symptoms. So people need both awareness of what people go through and also that there aren’t good enough treatments currently available.”

- Dr Sagnik Bhattcharyya

Want to find out more?

  • Explore cannabidiol in more detail in this article by Claire Bale
  • Explore the project in more depth in this blog by Dr Katherine Fletcher
  • Interested in finding out more about the Virtual Biotech? Visit this page of our website.