CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease: Can Hemp Oil Help Parkinson’s Patients?
CBD can be a healthy, natural alternative to traditional treatments for Parkinson’s Disease.
Studies show that CBD, or cannabidiol, also referred to as CBD-rich cannabis, may help with managing debilitating symptoms of this condition, including the non-motor ones.
It’s actually possible to live a productive and happy life despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. When you take CBD oil, you won’t experience the adverse side effects of prescription medications; you also won’t get the high effect associated with using marijuana. And while traditional treatments may become less effective over time, CBD users are reporting long-lasting benefits.
Of course, we’re not saying CBD is a miracle drug — it’s not even a drug in the first place — but a high-quality CBD oil can improve your daily life as a Parkinson’s patient.
CBD is gaining momentum as a versatile supplement for a wide range of other conditions, including anxiety, epilepsy, pain, sleeping difficulty, or neurodegenerative disorders.
Everybody wants to capitalize on the booming market now, so how do you choose the right product from so many different brands?
This article will help you understand the potential benefits of using CBD oil for Parkinson’s Disease on top of highlighting the best companies whose products actually work.
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological condition that impacts a person’s nervous system, usually appearing at the age of 60. In simple words, brain cells that release the neurotransmitter dopamine — which sends messages to the body about the movement — become damaged and start to degenerate.
This causes a variety of motor issues, including but not limited to tremors, lack of facial expression, problems with balance, and stiffness in joints and muscles.
Moreover, Parkinson’s Disease may also lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD), which compromises one’s cognitive performance, such as the ability to remember things, pay attention, or make decisions.
Some people confuse PDD with Lewy Bodies Dementia (DLB). However, with DLB, cognitive problems appear prior to motor issues. Both diseases are progressive, meaning the symptoms will deteriorate over time, and unfortunately, there’s no treatment that could cure people out of PD.
Initial symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are mild and may include:
- Lack of facial expression
- Balance issues
- Difficulty sitting or standing
- Slowness of movement (Bradykinesia)
People with Parkinson’s Disease struggle with walking as the disease progresses. There’s even a phenomenon called Parkinsonian gait, which refers to a stooped posture, shuffling of the feet, and limited arm movement.
Other health problems in people with PD include:
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Difficulty maintaining focus
- Impaired judgment
- Visual hallucinations
- Loss of smell
- Trouble swallowing
People with Parkinson’s Disease may also suffer from anxiety, apathy, irritability, depression, pain, and insomnia. As mentioned, many PD patients develop Parkinson’s dementia over time.
Prescription medications to alleviate the symptoms of the disease may be effective, but they tend to lose efficacy over time, requiring larger doses to provide relief — which often leads to adverse side effects such as drowsiness, blurred vision, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth, heartburn, loss of appetite, and more.
Not to mention the risk of lethal overdose.
It’s no wonder that people with Parkinson’s disease often seek alternative forms of treatment.
Let’s see how CBD could be used for Parkinson’s disease.
How Could CBD Oil Help with Parkinson’s?
While doctors haven’t been using CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease long-term, and research into the benefits of CBD for this condition only began a few decades ago, current findings are very exciting. Studies suggest that CBD may have some positive effects on certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, especially when it comes to anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties.
Common treatments for Parkinson’s Disease can result in medicine-triggered tremors or uncontrolled muscle movements. Continuous use of such medicine could make this symptom even worse. One older and smaller study suggested that CBD may be a possible solution due to its ability to help ease these muscle movements .
A recently published study conducted by Brazilian researchers showed that CBD lowered tremors and anxiety that occurred during a public speaking test for people over 60 with Parkinson’s disease. Participants who took 300 mg of CBD before giving a speech, which is a classic anxiety-inducer, experienced milder symptoms than a control group who took a placebo.
Another study from researchers Alyssa S. Laun and Zhao-Hui Song from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, made a significant discovery a few years ago when they found that CBD is an inverse agonist of the CPR6 receptor found primarily in the basal ganglia area of the brain, which connects to the brainstem and cerebral cortex . This receptor is responsible for many important functions in our bodies, such as movement, emotion processing, and learning. This means that CBD has a strong affinity to this receptor, providing beneficial effects against the symptoms of cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s. Any rise in dopamine levels would counteract the slow decrease of dopaminergic neurons experienced by PD patients.
A small study of 22 people with Parkinson’s found that taking cannabis helped improve pain . However, this study involved medical marijuana, which contains both CBD and THC in various ratios.
However, animal studies have suggested that CBD alone may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation, two symptoms that affect people with PD frequently .
Psychosis is a sort of collateral damage caused by Parkinson’s disease. It can lead to hallucinations, delusions, and delirium. It is more likely to occur during the later stages of the disease and affects up to 50 percent of people with PD .
While antipsychotic medications are available to treat this symptom, some people have wondered if CBD might help too.
According to a 2009 study, the severity of psychosis and its symptoms were reduced in individuals with Parkinson’s disease . More interestingly, CBD also didn’t cause any side effects.
A lack of quality sleep caused by sleep disruption is a serious problem for people with Parkinson’s disease. Vivid dreams or nightmares, as well as an abrupt movement during sleep, can heavily impact your sleep cycles. Studies have found that both cannabis and CBD alone might help with sleep deprivation .
Overall Quality of Life
Researchers have suggested that the many potential benefits of CBD can translate to improved quality of one’s life. This is a major concern for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, as the condition affects various both physical and mental health.
One study found that people with Parkinson’s disease and no psychiatric symptoms or conditions experienced an improved quality of life while taking CBD . However, this study was conducted in a very small group of people, so further research is needed to draw further conclusions on these findings.
What Does the FDA Say About Using CBD Oil for Parkinson’s?
CBD oil hasn’t been approved by the FDA as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. In fact, there are no FDA-approved cannabis treatments for this condition as of today. However, the FDA did acknowledge a CBD-based medication, Epidiolex, to treat two types of drug-resistant epilepsy.
Researchers from the University of Colorado are using Epidiolex to analyze its benefits on people with Parkinson’s-triggered tremors. The study is currently in its second stage.
Can You Use CBD Oil as a Prevention for Parkinson’s?
Studies have suggested that CBD may be able to help prevent Parkinson’s disease, but the current data comes only from animal models.
The research also suggests that CBD can do nothing to help treat PD after its onset. Based on this, it may only be useful as a preventive supplement.
However, most clinical trials only use CBD after a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This is important because about 60 percent of the dopamine-receptive neurons in the brain are already destroyed by the time a person begins showing the symptoms of their condition.
It’s also difficult to predict who will develop Parkinson’s and who will be more resistant to this disease. There are only a few preventive strategies, and thus far, we don’t know if CBD can help everyone.
How to Administer CBD for Parkinson’s Disease?
If you’re about to use CBD for the first time, you may be wondering how to take it the right way to maximize the benefits for Parkinson’s disease.
You can buy CBD in various forms, including:
- CBD oil (sublingual drops). CBD can be swallowed or absorbed sublingually (beneath the tongue). This is a good option if you don’t like to take capsules and want to precisely measure out your dose. The calming effects of CBD usually take hold around 15-30 minutes after ingestion and may last for up to 6 hours.
- Capsules. This form of CBD is a good option if you’re looking for a premeasured dose of CBD in your supplement. You just take as many capsules as recommended by your physician. The downside of taking CBD capsules is their delayed onset and lower bioavailability since they have to pass through the digestive system before reaching the bloodstream.
- Edibles.CBD-infused is becoming more popular these days. Gummies are by far the most common option. They work in a similar manner to capsules. They usually kick in after 40–120 minutes and last for up to 10 hours. Edibles are a discreet way to deliver a dose of CBD.
- Topicals. Products like lotions and creams may be effective for localized problems because they deliver the CBD to the cannabinoid receptors located in the deeper layer of the skin. From there, CBD can produce its soothing effects on the body, reducing inflammation, stiffness, and pain.
- Vape pens. CBD oils can be mixed with thinners such as vegetable glycerin to be vaporized and inhaled. The effects take hold quickly if you use this route of administration and can deliver more CBD to your system than any of the above methods. However, vaporized CBD will last shorter than it does when you take CBD oil or edibles, usually up to 2-4 hours.
Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil
Most studies have concluded that CBD is a safe and well-tolerated substance. The WHO issued a complete report on the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol, supporting the earlier findings. CBD rarely causes any side effects, and if they do happen, they tend to be mild.
The side effects of CBD oil include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
CBD can also interact with prescription and non-prescription medications, so make sure to always consult your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re on medications that are metabolized by the Cytochrome P450 system. If your doctor tells you not to eat grapefruit along with your meds, the same rule applies to CBD because they use an identical mechanism, blocking the p450 system from metabolizing the active ingredients in those medications.
Best CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease: Our Top Picks in 2022
1. Royal CBD (Best CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease)
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
|Potency||250 mg – 2500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Berry, Mint, Vanilla|
|CBD per serving||8.3 mg – 83.3 mg|
Why Royal CBD Oil is the Best CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease
Royal CBD is a premium brand from Nevada that sells full-spectrum CBD oil from organic hemp. The company was started by a group of cannabis activists to leverage the quality standards for making CBD products in the industry. On top of its best-selling CBD oil, Royal CBD also offers full-spectrum softgels, THC-free gummies, and two types of broad-spectrum topicals.
Royal CBD oil comes in four strengths. Users can choose between 250 mg, 500 mg, 100 mg, and 2500 mg of total CBD. If you have problems holding the natural CBD oil in your mouth, you can pick one of the four flavored options. The 2500 mg is only available in the unflavored variant because adding flavorings would compromise its cannabinoid profile and the efficacy of the entourage effect from other cannabinoids.
The oil contains the full-spectrum of phytochemicals, including CBD, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that boost the efficacy of cannabidiol. To further enhance the bioavailability of this hemp extract, the guys at Royal CBD have suspended it in food-grade MCT oil from coconut. The addition of MCT oil also brings other benefits to the table, including a stable source of energy for the brain and the presence of heart-healthy essential fatty acids.
I found the 2500 mg potency particularly helpful for non-motor problems like anxiety, irritation, and fatigue. This CBD is also decent at easing pain and inflammation, not to mention that it can last for up to a few months if you benefit from lower doses in your routine.
The entire Royal CBD collection is made from US-grown organic hemp, extracted with supercritical CO2, and rigorously tested in a certified laboratory for potency and purity.
- Made from locally grown organic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Infused with full-spectrum CBD
- Available in 4 strengths and flavors
- Up to 2500 mg of CBD per bottle
- 3rd-party tested for potency and purity
- Great natural flavor
- Not available in local CBD stores (this may soon change)
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic Formula)
|Potency||300 – 1200 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Honey|
|CBD per serving||8.3 mg – 33.3 mg|
About Gold Bee
The “runner up” title in our ranking of the best CBD oils for Parkinson’s Disease belongs to Gold Bee, which is another premium manufacturer from Nevada. This company makes unique CBD oils that are infused with a natural honey flavor, hence the Bee name. The guys at Gold Bee have partnered with their local growers from Colorado to create their own blend of high-CBD strains.
Gold Bee CBD oil comes in four different concentrations, from 300 mg to 1200 mg CBD per bottle. And just like Royal CBD, this brand also uses full-spectrum CBD in its product, so you’re getting the whole hemp goodness from the original plant. When it comes to symptoms like anxiety and problems with focus, I’ve noticed similar results to Royal CBD oil, but I think Gold Bee products are less affordable in the long-run.
Still, these are the best CBD oils for Parkinson’s disease in the mid-potency range.
- Sourced from US-grown organic hemp
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Up to 33 mg CBD/mL
- Great potency range for beginners
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Great honey flavor
- No high-strength CBD oils
3. CBDPure (Top Transparency)
|Potency||100 – 1000 mg|
|CBD per serving||3.3 – 33 mg/mL|
I highly recommend CBDPure for those who are just starting out with CBD. The strengths of the oils offered by this company are great for beginners. The lowest strength contains 100 mg of CBD, which is perfect if you want to see how taking CBD affects your body. It delivers 3.3 per half a dropper of the oil, so it should be good for managing mild symptoms.
For moderate problems, you can use the higher potencies. These include 300 mg, 600 mg, and 1000 mg of CBD per bottle. The last potency is a standard option for users who already have some experience and their daily dose doesn’t exceed 30 mg.
This brand is a textbook example of transparency. You can easily access the lab reports of their CBD oils and softgels through the company’s website.
- Sourced from organic Colorado-grown hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- 90-day return policy
- Only two forms of CBD available
- Low potency
- Premium pricing
4. Hemp Bombs (Best CBD Isolate)
|Potency||125 – 4000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon|
|CBD per serving||4 – 133 mg/mL|
About Hemp Bombs
If you’re looking for a company that offers CBD oil made with a broad-spectrum of cannabinoids or based on CBD isolate, Hemp Bombs is by far the best manufacturer on the market. The company specializes in making pure CBD oils in a wide range of potencies, with up to 4000 mg of CBD per bottle.
This CBD oil is a good alternative for people with Parkinson’s disease who don’t want to include any THC into their regime for some reason. Broad-spectrum or isolated CBD can work for you if you’re tested for THC at work, as large doses of full-spectrum CBD oil taken regularly can result in a false-positive result on the screening.
However, those using CBD oils with zero THC should be aware that the synergy from other cannabinoids and terpenes will be either incomplete, or there will be no synergy at all (if using isolate).
- Sourced from organic hemp
- Extracted with CO2
- 0% THC
- Available as broad-spectrum or isolate
- Third-party tested for CBD and contaminants
- Up to 4000 mg of CBD per bottle
- 5 strengths to choose from
- Infused with synthetic flavorings
- No “entourage effect” from other cannabinoids and terpenes
- Most people don’t need such high doses of CBD oil in their routine
5. CBDistillery (Best Price)
|Potency||250 – 5000 mg|
|Potency||8.3 – 166 mg/mL|
As one of the industry’s trailblazers, CBDistillery definitely deserves a mention on our list of the best CBD oils for Parkinson’s disease considering how the company has managed to maintain its stellar reputation throughout the years. Not only did CBDistillery not rested on the laurels, but it also became one of the biggest suppliers in North America.
CBDistillery’s mission is to provide high-quality CBD oils affordable for everyone. The company sells hemp extracts in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum variants. The latter is referred to as “pure oil” and contains all the non-psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp, but without any THC in the final product.
This company covers the entire potency range for CBD oils, from 250 mg to a whopping 5000 mg of CBD per bottle. At 166 mg of CBD in each mL, the strongest version is enough to get yourself stocked with CBD for months to come.
The only downside of CBDistillery’s products is that they’re not made with organic hemp. Nevertheless, it’s still one of the best companies in this price range, so if you’re shopping for CBD on a budget, this is a rock-solid supplier.
Comparing CBD with Levodopa for Parkinson’s
Levodopa is an established treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Although it’s not perfect, it’s currently the most effective treatment for PD. It helps boost the level of dopamine in the brain.
Levodopa is effective at targeting the motor symptoms of the condition, such as tremors or muscle stiffness.
However, this medicine does little to combat the nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. These are the problems that can significantly affect a person’s daily life. They include anxiety, sleep disturbance, fatigue, irritation, and depression.
Furthermore, prolonged use of levodopa may result in side effects like elevated anxiety, agitation, confusion, and nausea. It may also trigger tremors that result from the medication itself, not PD.
CBD appears to help with those nonmotor symptoms and potential side effects, rather than physical problems. A study with more than 200 participants found that regular use of cannabis was highly effective on non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. However, this study included a combination of THC with CBD, not CBD oil alone.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD Oil for Parkinson’s
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Once diagnosed, patients can only slow their progression.
However, there are ways to manage its pesky symptoms. One of them is using CBD oil. If you’re planning to try it out, remember to make an appointment with your doctor first. This is to make sure that you don’t experience any side effects of potential drug interactions. In addition, your doctor can also give you professional advice on finding the right dose.
Although more research is needed to confirm the benefits of CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease, the best product that may support official treatment is Royal CBD oil. Made from organic hemp and using supercritical CO2, this product is pure, safe, and available in a wide range of potencies to suit different CBD needs.
Do you know anyone who takes CBD oil to cope with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease? Does it help? Let us know in the comment section below!
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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My Experience Using CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Symptoms
One of the most difficult decisions a person with Parkinson’s disease (PD) will face is deciding what medications to use to treat the disease.
The choice is a function of several factors including the specific symptoms being treated, the medication’s efficacy, and cost.
I was prescribed levodopa
The medication most people with Parkinson’s end up taking at some point is levodopa, which is the gold standard for treating Parkinson’s. It was developed in the late 60s. It is sometimes used for diagnostic purposes.
I was prescribed levodopa and was told that if it provided relief from my initial symptoms, that there was a good chance I had PD. Otherwise, there was a good chance that I didn’t have PD but, possibly something worse.
I remember thinking “while I want relief from my symptoms, I don’t want a diagnosis of PD.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t have it both ways. If I found relief (which I did) there was an excellent chance that I had PD (which I do).
Trying different medications
After my diagnosis, the next challenge was deciding how to treat my disease. I found out very quickly that there didn’t seem to be a consensus on when one should start levodopa as opposed to other medications, like Azilect.
The concern was that starting levodopa treatment early in one’s treatment would increase the risk of dyskinesia. I decided to continue using levodopa since it was providing me with much-needed relief from my symptoms.
Over time, I’ve tried other medications either in combination with or in place of levodopa like Azilect, Stalevo, entacapone, and amantadine. Due to the side effects or the drug’s ineffectiveness, I stopped taking all of these except the amantadine.
I continue taking levodopa but have switched to Rytary which is the extended-release version of levodopa. I have also had deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery due to the dyskinesia I experienced with levodopa.
Using dietary supplements
I have also used dietary supplements like CoQ10 but did not find it to make any difference. I’ve also considered alternative medications like medical marijuana which recently became legal in my state.
Unfortunately, there has not been much research on how effective marijuana is in treating PD symptoms. The few trials that have been conducted have shown that medical marijuana may treat problems with both motor and non-motor symptoms, but more research needs to be done.
What are cannabinoids?
Marijuana contains many compounds called cannabinoids. The main cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which causes the “high” the user experiences with marijuana. Another cannabinoid is CBD or cannabidiol which doesn’t cause the “high” that THC does.
These cannabinoids come in various forms from dried leaves that can be smoked, oil that is sprayed under the tongue, and pills that can be swallowed. There are even CBD gummy bears.
CBD can be expensive and isn’t covered by insurance. The FDA has not approved medical marijuana and classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug which is a drug that has been found to have no acceptable medical use and a high potential for abuse.
This is one of the reasons why more research has not been done and why organizations like the MJF Foundation have called for a reclassification of marijuana.
Where is it legal?
While illegal at the federal level, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia for certain conditions.
In some states, Parkinson’s disease is one of these conditions. However, state laws vary in the conditions the medical marijuana can be used for, the formulations allowed and whether physician certification is required.
By federal law, physicians cannot prescribe marijuana or cannabinoids. In states that require certification from a qualified physician, it can be challenging to find a qualified doctor since many physicians elect not to apply for certification.
CBD for my symptoms
I decided to use CBD oil to find out what, if any, benefit it provides. I was hesitant at first due to the high cost and lack of evidence beyond some anecdotal evidence that it does help relieve a few motor (tremor, slowness, stiffness) and non-motor symptoms (sleep, pain, anxiety.
After only a few days, it wasn’t evident that it was providing any benefit. I was hoping it would relieve pain due to stiffness. Perhaps it takes more than a few days and/or a dosage change. I plan to finish the bottle I have before deciding whether to continue using it.
The future of medical marijuana
With more states legalizing it, there will continue to be a large demand for medical marijuana. Hopefully, well designed, large scale research is forthcoming.
According to Rachel Dolhun, MD Vice President, Medical Communications at the Michael J Fox Foundation, “The work to date on marijuana and cannabinoids has given promising but conflicting signals on potential benefit for motor and non-motor symptoms as well as levodopa-induced dyskinesia. This therapy may represent a future treatment option for PD, but the correct dose and formulation are not clear, full side effects and drug interactions are unknown, and benefits have not been rigorously determined.” 1
In the meantime, PWP will have to rely on anecdotal evidence on whether medical marijuana is an effective treatment for Parkinson’s.