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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in cannabis plants. These compounds are known as cannabinoids. Cannabis has several hundred of these compounds, though only a few are well known and widely studied.
CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabis’s more famous cannabinoid. It does, however, have other potentially beneficial effects.
Research suggests CBD may help reduce anxiety, relieve pain, and offer neuroprotective properties.
Potential brain and nervous system benefits have garnered a lot of attention in recent years, especially for people with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease (PD).
The research is fairly new and limited, but some studies have shown promise for those with PD. Let’s look at how CBD might help with symptoms of this progressive neurological disorder.
CBD hasn’t been used in people with Parkinson’s disease long-term, and research into the benefits of this cannabinoid only began a few decades ago.
That means research is limited, and often, the studies that have been done are very small. Scientists and doctors need to conduct larger-scale efforts to confirm any benefits.
However, some studies suggest CBD may have some positive effects, especially when it comes to nonmotor symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
A small studyTrusted Source of 22 individuals with Parkinson’s found that using cannabis helped improve pain. However, this study was conducted with medical marijuana, which contains both CBD and THC.
But animal studiesTrusted Source have suggested CBD alone has benefits for reducing pain and inflammation, two factors that can affect people with PD regularly.
Some of the most common treatments for Parkinson’s disease can cause medicine-related tremors or uncontrolled muscle movements. Treatment with the medicine won’t make it better — and it could make it worse.
As a possible solution, an older, smaller studyTrusted Source has suggested that CBD may be able to help ease these muscle movements.
Psychosis is a possible complication of Parkinson’s disease. It can cause hallucinations, delirium, and delusions, and it’s more common in people in the later stages of the disease.
In fact, up to 50 percentTrusted Source of people with PD experience this complication.
While medications are available to treat Parkinson’s psychosis, some people have wondered if CBD might be beneficial.
One small 2009 studyTrusted Source in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and psychotic symptoms found that the compound did reduce the severity of symptoms. It also didn’t cause any adverse effects.
Sleep disruption and a lack of quality sleep is a serious concern for people with Parkinson’s disease. Vivid dreams or nightmares, as well as movement during sleep, is common.
StudiesTrusted Source have found that both cannabis and CBD alone might helpTrusted Source with sleep disturbances.
Quality of life
Because of the many potential benefits of CBD for people with Parkinson’s, researchers have suggested using the compound might help improve quality of life. This is a major concern for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease.
One studyTrusted Source found that people who had Parkinson’s disease and no psychiatric symptoms or conditions experienced an improved quality of life with CBD use. This study, too, was done in a very small group of people, so further research is needed to thoroughly support the findings.
CBD is available in the following forms:
Oils and tinctures. As liquids, these forms of CBD can be swallowed or absorbed sublingually (under the tongue). This might be a good option if you have difficulty swallowing pills or chewing gummies.
Lotions and creams. The effects of CBD-infused lotions and creams can take several hours to develop, but may be useful to treat pain or stiffness in hands and joints.
Capsules and pills. You may experience a delay in effects if you take CBD in a capsule or pill, but this form may be ideal for people with tremors that prevent them from properly dosing a liquid.
Edibles. Gummies are a popular CBD option. You can also find CBD in a number of other edible foods, though dosage may not be as accurate as in other forms. Edibles discretely deliver a dose of CBD.
Vape pens. CBD oil can be vaporized and inhaled. The effects begin quickly if you use this route. However, vaping may damage lung tissue or aggravate symptoms like coughing or sore throat.
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