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Parkinson’s Disease and CBD Oil: Current Research and Potential Benefits

While the prognosis for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease is better than ever before, there is still no absolute cure. But is it possible that CBD oil can help those suffering from this degenerative disease?

In most cases, physical symptoms do not manifest until the disease is well established. These physical symptoms can be very difficult to live with, making it nearly impossible for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease to carry out the most basic daily tasks.

For those looking for an alternative to standard prescription medications, and a way to effectively reduce the effects of Parkinson’s disease, CBD oil may provide some answers.

It is important to remember that the information presented on this page is intended to serve only as an informational guide and should never be considered medical advice. Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment regimen.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil to Treat Parkinson's Disease

There are many potential benefits that can come with using CBD oil to treat Parkinson’s disease and it’s symptoms.

The loss of physical control that comes with the advancement of Parkinson’s is due to a drop in levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine available in the brain. The most commonly prescribed medications for balancing these dopamine levels are levodopa and carbidopa, often available in a combination pill, tablet, or liquid form. Levodopa, sometimes called L-dopa, is converted to dopamine by the brain; carbidopa aids in this conversion by protecting levodopa from being broken down before it reaches the brain.

Popular brand names for levodopa-carbidopa combination medications include Sinemet, Duopa, Rytary, and Parcopa. While these medications are very helpful, they can have several side effects, some of which can be almost as disruptive as Parkinson’s itself, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Forgetfulness/confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Twitching
  • Repetitive movements of tongue, lips, face, arms, or legs
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disruption
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Muscle stiffness

CBD oil may be able to help manage some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease without producing side effects like these, though research on the subject is still in its infancy.

How to Use CBD oil for Parkinson's Disease

If you are struggling to control the effects of Parkinson’s disease, or are experiencing disruptive side effects due to your current treatment plan, you may want to consider the use of CBD oil.

Before you begin using CBD oil, however, it is important to talk to your doctor. While CBD oil is generally safe, it can interact with some medications, increasing the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects.

Choosing the Right CBD Oil Delivery Format

There are lots of different ways to take CBD oil and the one you choose will depend on your specific needs, personal preferences, and lifestyle.

If you are looking to work CBD oil into your daily routine to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, a capsule, tincture, or edible may be the easiest way to do so. Capsules especially are easily worked into a regular vitamin or medication regimen, and will provide the same dose of CBD oil each time you take them.

It is important to note, however, that edibles and capsules can be slow to show effects. Both of these delivery formats have to go through the digestive system and be processed by the liver before being absorbed into the bloodstream. Effects can typically take up to an hour to appear.

For quick relief or dosage control, CBD oil drops and CBD vape oils are the way to go. Both of these formats bypass the digestive system and go to work almost right away. CBD vape oils will produce effects the fastest, but their benefits won’t last as long as an edible, for example. CBD oil drops and inctures won’t produce effects as fast as a CBD vape, but their benefits typically last longer than vaped cannabidiol (CBD).

For Parkinson’s related pain, targeted relief may be one of your best options. In that instance, a topical cream, lotion, or salve can reduce inflammation and relieve pain at the site it is applied.

Depending on the progression of Parkinson’s, some of these formats may be easier to administer than others. The functioning and mobility of the Parkinson’s patient are important to consider when making a decision regarding delivery format. For example, if the disease has progressed to a point where fine motor skills have been significantly diminished, a CBD transdermal patch, which you simply stick on the skin and change every few days, may be the most realistic route for administration.

Here’s a look at the different delivery formats and their specifications so you can decide which CBD delivery format is best for your or your loved one’s needs.

Delivery Format Pros Cons Time of Onset Duration of Effects
Edibles and Capsules and Tinctures Convenient; Discreet; Dosage control; Doesn't harm the lungs; Familiar Slow to take effect 30-60 minutes Edibles/Capsules:4-6 hours; Tinctures/Drops: 2-4 hours
Smokables (E.g. Vapes; flower) Fast acting; Easy to use; Social; Familiar Non-discreet; Smoking/Vaping are illegal in many public settings; Can feel harsh on the lungs Instant 45 minutes-1 hour
Topicals (E.g. Lotions; balms; gels) Can be applied directly to the affected area; Bypasses liver metabolism; Long-lasting; Can be worked into daily hygiene routine Slow to take effect Varies widely due to factors like hair growth and the amount of fatty tissue Typically 5+ hours
Transdermal Patches Longest lasting effects; Bypasses liver metabolism; Steady release of CBD into the bloodstream May take hours to feel effects Varies depending on the amount of fatty tissue and hair on the skin 1-2 days

With so many options available, it may be necessary to try a few delivery methods before discovering the one that is most effective and comfortable for you.

Once again, do not start using CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease without consulting a medical professional.

CBD Oil Dosage for Parkinson’s Disease

Unfortunately, there is no one single dose of CBD oil that is effective for Parkinson’s disease. Because no two people are exactly alike, what works for one person may not work for another. Unless told otherwise by a doctor, it is recommended that you start with the lowest recommended dose listed on your CBD oil product and adjust up or down as needed from there. You can also consult with a cannabis doctor who specializes in helping people overcome conditions using CBD oil and other natural treatment methods.

If you’re looking for a general baseline dosage, we at CBD Oil Review we have analyzed hundreds of products and come up with a standard serving suggestion:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily.

If you are not getting results from this amount, we recommend increasing the serving size by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find relief.

For more information on CBD oil dosage and tips on how to assess what might be best for you, you can check out our CBD Oil Dose Guide.

Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil to Treat Parkinson's Disease

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis plants. CBD oil works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a broad range of potentially beneficial effects.

By indirectly influencing cannabinoid receptors, CBD can help the body make better use of the endocannabinoids produced in the body.

Here are some of the ways CBD oil may effectively help with symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease.

CBD Oil for Inflammation

Most significantly, CBD works on the CB2 receptors that are found throughout the central nervous system. It is the CB2 receptors which regulate pain and inflammation, and studies have found that the vast majority of human diseases involve some sort of alteration in the function of CB2 receptors.

One study examining the effect of neuroinflammation on degenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease, drew a connection between inflammation and the death of neurons that release dopamine. As the dopaminergic neurons continue to die off, inflammation in the brain increases, creating a self-sustaining process. The link between neuroinflammation and the endocannabinoid system, and in particular C2 receptors, suggests that there is potential for the use of CBD in the management of Parkinson's disease and hopefully future research will focus on this.

While research on using CBD oil to reduce neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s patients is limited, there have been enough conclusive studies and clinical trials to support CBD oil as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. If cannabidiol is able to reduce inflammation in the brain of Parkinson’s sufferers, it could hinder the degenerative cycle that perpetuates the death of dopamine-producing neurons.

CBD Oil for Muscle Control

The loss of muscle control is often the most distressing and complicated symptom of Parkinson’s disease to address.

Dopamine is key in signaling the start of movement, passing information between the brain and body. Dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra area of the brain are destroyed in Parkinson’s disease, resulting in a dopamine deficit of 60-80%. It is therefore held by many scientists that it is the reduction of dopamine that leads to decreased control of bodily movement.

In a study performed on animal test subjects, researchers found cannabinoids, including CBD, inhibited the reuptake of dopamine, making more of the neurotransmitter available in the brain.

Finally, a recent study found that CBD can work as an inverse agonist on the G-coupled protein receptor known as GPR6. A depletion in the GPR6 leads to a reduction in dopamine. By acting on this receptor, CBD can increase the amount of dopamine in the brain, allowing for more muscle control and potentially reduce Parkinson’s related tremors.

While all these results are promising, it’s important to keep in mind there’s still a significant lack of conclusive research specific to using CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease. As laws around cannabis in the U.S. (and beyond) continue to change, hopefully more clinical trials will be performed on humans with Parkinson’s, and answers will become clearer. For now, it is best to consult with your doctor—or a cannabis doctor—to decide the best path forward.

Best CBD Oil for Parkinson's Disease

The best CBD oil for managing Parkinson’s disease will depend on the needs of the patient.

It is important to always buy high-quality CBD oil from a reputable brand. Here’s what to look out for when choosing a CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease:

  1. Consider the source.  Whenever possible, buy from a brand that sources their CBD from organically grown hemp. Not only are these growing practices more environmentally sustainable, but they also ensure that your CBD oil product is free from pesticides and herbicides.
  2. Read the label.  Always read the ingredients list on any product before you buy. Look for brands that contain as few ingredients as possible. Typically, all a CBD oil needs to contain are cannabidiol (CBD) and a carrier oil like MCT oil, hemp seed, or coconut oil. Some full-spectrum products will contain terpenes, giving the oil a natural hemp flavor. If you wish to avoid the hemp flavor, consider a CBD oil that uses natural flavors like orange oil, cinnamon, or mint oils.
  3. Look for transparency.  Reputable brands will be transparent with their process. They will third-party lab test their extractions for both purity and potency. These lab test results will be posted in a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). These CoAs will give you a complete breakdown of everything that is or is not in your CBD oil. It also allows you to check that the amount of CBD listed on the label is accurate while ensuring there aren’t harmful heavy metals or pesticides in your product.
  4. Know the law.  Before you make any CBD oil purchase, it is critical that you understand the laws in your state. While CBD oil with a THC content of 0.3% or less is legal at a federal level, the final decision regarding CBD’s legality has been left up to the states. Most states make allowances for it, but some do not. If you live in a state that has legalized recreational and medicinal cannabis, you should have no problem purchasing CBD oil. But states with more restrictive laws could limit your purchase options. Check out our state-by-state guide on cannabis laws in the U.S. for more information.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition without a cure and as such, sometimes the traditional forms of treatment fall short. CBD oil may be able to help; as more research becomes available, a definitive answer will emerge.

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