Can CBD effectively curb the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and slow its progression?
Evidence from studies is promising.
Scientists have discovered a link between a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the development of Parkinson’s disease. According to research, CBD (or cannabidiol) may help with the management of the condition, including the non-motor symptoms.
Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s doesn’t mean you can’t live a productive and happy life. Taking CBD oil can help you improve your quality of life without the nasty side effects associated with prescription medications.
Moreover, CBD doesn’t get you high like marijuana. And while traditional medications may lose efficacy over time, CBD typically provides long-lasting benefits.
Don’t get us wrong, CBD isn’t a miracle drug. It won’t cure Parkinson’s disease or any medical disease for that matter. However, high-quality CBD oil can improve your daily life with Parkinson’s.
CBD is making big headlines in mainstream media, and for a good reason. It offers a wide range of health benefits, including relief from anxiety, epilepsy, pain, insomnia, and neurodegenerative conditions.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the effects of CBD on Parkinson’s. We’ve also prepared a buyer’s guide for beginners and our list of the best CBD brands whose products actually work.
Best CBD Oils for Parkinson’s disease in 2020
1. Royal CBD (Overall Winner)
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Why We Recommend Royal CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease
Royal CBD offers full-spectrum CBD oil made from organically grown hemp from farms in Colorado. The oil is available in four different concentrations, including 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg. The guys at Royal CBD have also created three flavored versions of their oil: Mint, Vanilla, and Berry. These are naturally flavored oils that cater to those who don’t like holding natural CBD oil in their mouth.
As mentioned, these are full-spectrum products, so you’re getting synergistic effects from CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This phenomenon is known as the “entourage effect” — it’s also the reason why full-spectrum products are the preferred option among consumers.
The oil is suspended in premium-grade MCT oil for higher bioavailability and a milder taste. The 2500 mg bottle may be helpful for non-motor symptoms like irritation, fatigue, or anxiety. This CBD also works well for easing physical discomfort.
All of Royal CBD’s products are CO2-extracted and tested in a third-party laboratory for potency and purity. The company also has a 30-day money-back guarantee program.
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic)
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Why We Recommend Gold Bee for Parkinson’s Disease
Gold Bee is a California-based brand that makes 100% organic products. This means that every ingredient in its CBD oil — from hemp to flavorings — comes from organic sources. Although the company doesn’t have any high-strength oils in its line up, the lower potencies still provide full-spectrum CBD and the desired entourage effect. This is a great brand for beginners and those who don’t take more than 40 mg CBD daily.
We love how Gold Bee CBD oils taste. The kiwi flavor, which is sweetened with honey, has won our hearts; this is the best-tasting CBD oil we’ve got so far. Similar to Royal CBD, Gold Bee uses supercritical CO2 extraction and tests its products in a certified laboratory.
3. CBDistillery (Runner Up)
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Why We Recommend CBDistillery CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease
CBDistillery is one of the pioneer companies on the market. It offers both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils. The broad-spectrum version is labeled as “pure oil” and includes all non-psychoactive cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids — but without any THC. This type of CBD oil caters to people who would like to benefit from the entourage effect (to some extent) with no THC in their product. Unlike other companies in this ranking, this one doesn’t have any flavored oils.
The best thing about CBDistillery in relation to Parkinson’s disease is the potency range of these CBD oils. You can choose from as little as 250 mg to a whopping 5000 mg of CBD per bottle. Even if you don’t use CBD oil to manage severe symptoms, such concentrations can get you stocked up for months to come.
Speaking of which, CBDistillery is also one of the most affordable companies on the market.
4. CBDPure (Good Value)
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Why We Recommend CBDPure CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease
CBDPure specializes in making low-to-moderate potency CBD oils that contain the full-spectrum of cannabinoids. These oils are available in four concentrations: 100 mg, 300 mg, 600 mg, and 1000 mg CBD per bottle. This company is a great choice for users who already have experience with CBD but their dosage doesn’t go beyond 30 mg daily. If you value transparency and are looking for an artisan-grade formula, CBDPure should meet your expectations.
READ FULL CBDPure REVIEW HERE
5. Charlotte’s Web (Best Variety)
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Why We Recommend Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease
Charlotte’s Web was founded by the Stanley Brothers who are also responsible for the global CBD rush. The brothers have helped a young girl (now late) Charlotte Figi reduce her seizure attacks from several a day to one case a week — introducing the anti-epileptic properties of CBD to a broader public. Charlotte’s Web uses olive oil to extract its CBD oils, which is thought to be inferior to CO2 but more “natural.” The unique extraction method, along with a broad selection of high-quality products, has made Charlotte’s Web one of the most recognizable brands in the industry.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurological disease that involves the degeneration of a person’s nervous system, with an average onset at the age of 60. Simply put, brain cells that release the neurotransmitter dopamine become damaged and start to degrade.
This can trigger an array of motor problems, such as tremors, problems with balance, stiffness in joints and muscles, and lack of facial expression.
On top of that, Parkinson’s Disease may also result in Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD), which negatively impacts a person’s cognitive functioning, such as the ability to pay attention, make decisions, or remember things.
Sometimes, PDD is confused with Lewy Bodies Dementia (LBD). However, with the latter, cognitive impairment occurs before motor issues. Both conditions are progressive, so the symptoms will get worse over time, and alas, there’s no therapy that could cure people out of PD.
Overview of Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
The first symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease aren’t severe and include:
- The slowness of movement (Bradykinesia)
- Balance problems
- Lack of facial expression
- Difficulty sitting or standing.
Parkinson’s disease patients experience issues with walking as the disease develops. There’s also a medical term known as Parkinsonian gait. People with this condition have a stooped posture, limited arm movement, and shuffle their feet.
Other symptoms of PD include:
- Compromised judgment
- Difficulty maintaining focus
- Loss of smell
- Memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Trouble swallowing
- Visual hallucinations
Patients with Parkinson’s disease may also suffer from apathy, anxiety, irritability, depression, pain, and insomnia. Many people also develop Parkinson’s dementia over time, as mentioned above.
How is Parkinson’s Disease Treated?
Doctors usually recommend prescription medications to make the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease manageable. Unfortunately, these medications only provide short-term relief and may require larger doses to produce the desired effects. This, in turn, may result in a range of side effects such as blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, dry mouth, loss of appetite, drowsiness, lightheadedness, and more.
Lethal overdose is another serious risk of conventional treatments for Parkinson’s disease.
How Does CBD Oil Help with Parkinson’s Disease?
Doctors may not use CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease long-term, which is not surprising considering that research into the effects of CBD for this condition only started a few decades ago. Nevertheless, the current findings are very promising. Studies have found some positive effects of CBD on certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, especially when it comes to non-motor symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Below we shed more light on the health benefits of CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease patients.
CBD May Lower Tremors
Common medications for Parkinson’s disease can lead to drug-induced tremors and uncontrolled muscle twitches. Long-term use of such medicine could even worsen this symptom. One older study conducted on a small group of subjects suggested that CBD may potentially treat these tremors and muscle movements (1).
In a recently published study performed by Brazilian researchers, CBD has been shown to lower anxiety and tremors that occurred during a public speaking simulation for people aged 60 and up (2). Participants who took a dose of 300 mg CBD before their speech, which is a common anxiety-inducer, experienced less severe symptoms than the control group who used the placebo.
Another study conducted a few years ago by researchers Alyssa S. Laun and Zhao-Hui Song from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, found that CBD is an inverse agonist of the CPR6 receptor (3). This receptor is found in the basal ganglia region of the brain, which connects to the cerebral cortex and brainstem. It controls many important functions in our bodies, including learning, emotion processing, and movement.
CBD has a strong connection with this receptor, producing beneficial effects against the psychological and physiological symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. CBD can also indirectly increase dopamine levels, which counteracts the slow degeneration of dopaminergic neurons experienced by patients.
CBD May Reduce Pain
In a small study conducted on 22 people with Parkinson’s disease, the research team found that taking cannabis improved pain management in the subjects (4). However, this study was focused on medical marijuana, which contains both CBD and THC in different proportions.
Still, animal studies have pointed to CBD as an effective anti-inflammatory and painkiller (5). Inflammation and pain are two common symptoms that affect people with Parkinson’s Disease
CBD is Antipsychotic
Psychosis is another symptom, or side effect, of Parkinson’s disease. It can cause delusions, delirium, and hallucinations. Psychosis is more likely to occur in the later stages of the disease, affecting up to 50% of people with PD (6).
A 2009 study found that CBD reduced the severity of psychosis and its symptoms in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, CBD didn’t cause any side effects unlike antipsychotic medications (7).
CBD Supports Healthy Sleep
People with Parkinson’s disease suffer from a lack of quality sleep caused by sleep disruption, especially during the REM stage. Vivid dreams or nightmares, as well as an unexpected movement during sleep, can seriously disrupt your sleep cycles. According to studies, both cannabis and CBD alone might help improve the quality of sleep (8).
CBD Promotes Overall Wellness
Scientists have suggested that the many health benefits of CBD can lead to an improved quality of a person’s life. This is a major problem for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, as it affects both physical and mental health to different degrees.
One study discovered that people with Parkinson’s disease without psychiatric symptoms or conditions reported improved quality of life when taking CBD (9). However, this study involved a very small group of people, so further studies are needed to support the initial findings.
CBD vs Levodopa for Parkinson’s Disease
Levodopa is an FDA-approved treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Although it leaves a bit to be desired, it’s currently the most effective medication for PD. It helps increase the level of dopamine in the brain.
Levodopa can effectively tackle the motor symptoms of the disease, such as muscle stiffness or tremors.
However, this drug does little to fight the psychological symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. There are problems that can significantly compromise a person’s daily life, such as anxiety, sleep disturbance, irritation, fatigue, and depression.
On top of that, prolonged use of Levodopa may lead to side effects like worsened anxiety, confusion, agitation, and nausea. It may also cause tremors that result from the drug itself, not from PD.
CBD appears to be an effective tool for the management of those non-motor symptoms and potential side effects, rather than physical issues. A study that included over 200 participants found that regular use of cannabis was associated with significant improvements in non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. However, the study focused on products with various ratios of THC and CBD, not CBD oil alone.
Does the FDA Approve the Use of CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease?
The FDA has yet to examine the efficacy and safety of hemp-derived CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease and other conditions before they can rule out any specific recommendations and approve it as an anti-Parkinson’s medication. There’s only one FDA-approved CBD-based medication so far; it’s called Epidiolex, and doctors use it to treat intractable epilepsy in children.
Researchers from the University of Colorado are testing Epidiolex to investigate its benefits for people who experience Parkinson’s-related tremors. The study is currently in the second stage, so we keep our fingers crossed for positive results.
Does CBD Oil Prevent or Slow the Onset of Parkinson’s Disease?
Some studies have suggested that CBD may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, but we can only use the data collected from animal models. Human studies on this subject are limited.
The research also found that CBD can’t do anything to cure PD once it has started. Considering these findings, CBD may only be useful for prevention as a supplement.
However, the majority of clinical trials regarding the use of CBD oil for Parkinson’s has been centered around people already diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Why is this important?
Because around 60% of the dopamine-receptive neurons in the brain have been already destroyed by the time a person starts to show the symptoms of the disease.
It’s also difficult to tell who will develop Parkinson’s and who will be more resistant to this condition. Thus far, we don’t know if CBD will work for everyone, so it would be safe to assume that it’s good to combine it with some other preventive strategies.
How to Use CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease
If this is your first time with CBD oil, you may be wondering how to administer it to get the most out of its health benefits for Parkinson’s disease.
CBD comes in many different forms, including:
- CBD Oil (drops or tinctures): CBD oil calls for sublingual administration, meaning you need to place it under your tongue using the dropper attached to the product’s bottle. This is a good way to take CBD if you don’t like to swallow capsules and want to accurately measure out the amount of CBD each time. The effects of sublingual products usually kick in after around 30 minutes, lasting up to 6 hours.
- CBD Capsules: Capsules are a good option if you’re looking for a fixed amount of CBD per serving. You just take as many capsules as recommended by your doctor. Most people who don’t like the taste of CBD oil turn to capsules as a hassle-free alternative to taking CBD. However, capsules have a delayed onset and lower bioavailability than oil because they are subject to the first-pass metabolism in the liver.
- CBD Edibles: Edibles are food that has been infused with CBD. Gummies are by far the most popular product on the market, but you can also choose from protein bars, chocolates, lollipops, gums, and cookies. They work similarly to capsules, so you’ll need to wait up to 2 hours for the effects to take hold. However, once the CBD kicks in, it can last for up to 10 hours. Edibles also offer a discreet way to take CBD at work or on the go.
- CBD Vape pens: When CBD oils are mixed with thinners such as vegetable glycerin, they can be vaporized and inhaled through a vape pen. The effects of vaporized CBD have the fastest onset (up to 5 minutes) and deliver the highest concentrations of CBD to your system. However, when you take CBD this way, you should be aware of a shorter duration. Vape pens last shorter than oils and edibles — up to 2–4 hours.
- CBD Topicals: CBD oils can be incorporated into topicals like creams, gels, and lotions. These products are effective for localized problems because CBD engages with the cannabinoid receptors located deeper under your skin. From there, CBD can relieve pain, stiffness, and reduce inflammation.
Safety and Side Effects of CBD Oil
Most studies that have examined the effects of CBD oil in humans have concluded that CBD is a safe and well-tolerated compound. According to the report from the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD rarely causes any side effects and can be taken in doses up to 1500 mg daily for several weeks.
That being said, potential adverse effects of CBD oil include:
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
CBD is also known to interact with up to 80% of prescription and OTC medications, so make sure to talk to your doctor before buying any CBD product — especially if you take medications that are processed by the Cytochrome P450 system. If your medication has a grapefruit warning, or your doctor tells you not to eat grapefruit at the same time you take your meds, CBD goes by the same token. That’s because it’s an inhibitor of the p450 system, preventing it from metabolizing drugs.
Bottom Line: Can CBD Oil Help with Parkinson’s Disease?
Although Parkinson’s has no cure, patients diagnosed with the condition can slow its progression and effectively manage its debilitating symptoms. One such way involves using CBD oil.
If you’re planning to try out the health benefits of CBD oil on yourself, make sure to consult your plans with your doctor first. This will help you avoid potential side effects and drug interactions. A doctor expert on cannabis can also provide professional advice on finding the best dosage for your individual situation.
While more studies are needed to confirm the benefits of CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease, you can always use it to support official treatment. When shopping for CBD oil online, remember to check the source of hemp, extraction method, and lab-testing practices used by the company to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product that works.
Do you know someone who is taking CBD oil to manage Parkinson’s disease? Let us know in the comments!
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- De Faria, Stephanie Martins et al. “Effects of acute cannabidiol administration on anxiety and tremors induced by a Simulated Public Speaking Test in patients with Parkinson’s disease.” Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England) vol. 34,2 (2020): 189-196. doi:10.1177/0269881119895536
- Laun, A.S. & Zhao-Hui, S. “GPR3 and GPR6, novel molecular targets for cannabidiol.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. (2017).
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- Chagas, M H N et al. “Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series.” Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics vol. 39,5 (2014): 564-6. doi:10.1111/jcpt.12179
- Chagas, Marcos Hortes N et al. “Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease: an exploratory double-blind trial.” Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England) vol. 28,11 (2014): 1088-98. doi:10.1177/0269881114550355