Can cannabis stop Parkinson's hallucinations?

A pioneering clinical trial will investigate if cannabidiol (CBD) – a compound found in the cannabis plant – can treat hallucinations and delusions in people living with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s UK, Europe's largest charitable funder of Parkinson’s research, is backing a world first clinical trial at King’s College London (KCL), which will test whether CBD is safe and effective for treating Parkinson’s psychosis symptoms.

About the study

There are currently 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK. Between 50 and 60 per cent of them will be affected by Parkinson’s psychosis at some point in their life, a distressing condition for them and their loved ones. Current treatments aren't ideal due to associated side effects. 

Together, we can help find a better treatment. We’re funding the first large-scale trial which aims to provide preliminary evidence that CBD can stop hallucinations and delusions for people with Parkinson's. The research is led by Professor Sagnik Bhattacharyya and Dr Latha Velayudhan at KCL.

The first stage of the study is a 6-week pilot to find the ideal dosage of oral CBD capsules. During this time, participants will take doses of up to 1,000 mg/day.

In the second stage, 120 people with Parkinson’s-related psychosis will be recruited to take part in a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study – the gold standard for testing if treatments actually work.

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, said: 

“We know from a recent survey we carried out, that people with Parkinson's would continue to use, or start using, cannabis-derived products if robust evidence became available that they are safe and effective in treating Parkinson's symptoms. 

“There are many unanswered questions about the value of CBD for people with Parkinson’s, but this trial will help us to determine whether it can help with the debilitating symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. 

“If successful, this trial could result in people with Parkinson’s being able to access a regulated medicine, rather than reverting to expensive unregulated supplements that haven’t been monitored for their effectiveness.”

Be part of the breakthroughs

Support our world first clinical trial into how CBD – a compound found in cannabis – could treat Parkinson’s psychosis. This is pioneering research. But the results won’t just be seen in the lab. They’ll be seen in real, life-changing breakthroughs.