Can cannabidiol (CBD) treat Parkinson’s symptoms?

In a world first clinical trial, researchers are testing whether cannabidiol (CBD) can treat Parkinson’s psychosis symptoms.

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. 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.

Hallucinations and delusions 

Around 60% of people with Parkinson's experience hallucinations and delusions and it can be distressing. Charles was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2009 and began to experience hallucinations in 2015. 

Charles said of his experience: 

"I began to see people and pet dogs. I saw my wife Michele - she died in 2009 around the time when I started to notice mild Parkinson's symptoms. Whenever she appeared and I reached out to touch her, she disappeared leaving behind a smile a bit like the Cheshire Cat"

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 determine how accurate this is for people with Parkinson's. 

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What's next?

Dr Sagnik Bhattacharyya and Dr Latha Velayudhan at King's College London are testing whether CBD helps psychosis symptoms. 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.

The project is currently at stage 1, which will establish the safety of CBD and how much people should be taking. Charles is one of seven people who have signed up to take part so far. The researchers need to recruit 24 people for this first stage. 

Once the researchers know whether CBD 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.

Charles says: 

"Some people with Parkinson's have very distressing hallucinations and it can have a negative impact on their lives. It's not a cure but there are signs that CBD could help a lot of people with the effects of Parkinson's symptoms and the side effects of the drugs they are prescribed" 

This project could have a huge impact on quality of life for Charles and people with Parkinson's living with hallucinations and delusions. Now you can be part of accelerating research breakthroughs. 

“My hopes for the CBD trial is that it can help people with neurological disorders cope better with their symptoms and improve their quality of life."

- Charles

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