Posted on

cbd oil for parkinsons

Can cannabidiol (CBD) treat Parkinson’s symptoms?

In a world first clinical trial, researchers will test whether cannabidiol (CBD) can treat Parkinson’s psychosis symptoms with the help of the Virtual Biotech.

What’s CBD?

CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike another component, THC, CBD is non-addictive and doesn’t cause intoxication. You may have already heard of it because of its potential as a treatment for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of Parkinson’s. Around 60% of people experience these distressing symptoms. Current treatments can make other Parkinson’s symptoms worse, as they block dopamine receptors in the brain. This makes this research even more exciting as the existing information we have on CBD suggests it has no side effects.

What’s the Virtual Biotech?

The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech is our best chance of turning promising discoveries into real treatments for people with Parkinson’s.

A biotech is a company that uses the latest technology and expertise to take the best scientific discoveries and turn them into new medical treatments.

Our Virtual Biotech operates in the same way but instead of doing it for profit, like a standard biotech, we’re doing it for people affected by Parkinson’s. We don’t own our own labs, hi-tech specialist equipment or employ a team of scientists because this would be enormously expensive. Instead, we’re taking an efficient approach. Partnering with institutions and pharmaceutical companies worldwide that already have the expertise, tools and infrastructure. In a chronically underfunded area, this means more money can be put into promising treatments.

This project is the first clinical trial to go through the Virtual Biotech and the 6th project overall.

Watch the video below to find out more about the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech.

In a world first clinical trial, researchers will test whether cannabidiol (CBD) can treat Parkinson’s psychosis symptoms with the help of the Virtual Biotech.

Cannabis and Parkinson’s

Earlier this year, 1,600 people with Parkinson’s and 29 health and care professionals shared their views about and experiences of using cannabis-derived products.

Here’s what they said.

When it comes to evidence of the benefits of cannabis-based products for people with Parkinson’s, the jury is definitely out.

Although lab studies have shown some promising effects, there isn’t enough evidence yet to show that cannabis-based treatments are beneficial for people with Parkinson’s. And there are very real risks.

There’s a lot more research needed, both in the lab and in clinical trials.

In fact, we’re funding a clinical trial through our Virtual Biotech right now. In a world first clinical trial, Professor Sagnik Bhattacharyya and Dr Latha Velayudhan at Kings College London (KCL) will be testing whether cannabidiol (CBD) can treat Parkinson’s psychosis symptoms.

Over the next 3.5 years, researchers will test whether Cannabidiol (CBD) helps people’s psychosis symptoms. During this trial they’re aiming to find out how safe it is, whether there are any side effects, the best way to administer it and the ideal dosage.

The legal stuff

Cannabis is a class-B controlled drug in the UK. Possessing, producing and supplying it are all against the law. ‘Supply’ includes sharing the drug with someone or giving it (even for free) to friends or relatives.

Cannabis-based products are not available on prescription for people living with Parkinson’s. And using cannabis to help with your Parkinson’s symptoms is not a valid defence in the eyes of the law.

CBD oil is available to buy legally as a food supplement. But it can’t be advertised as beneficial for medicinal purposes as there is not enough evidence currently.

Our survey results

Between January and March 2019, we asked people with Parkinson’s and health professionals to tell us about their experiences with and opinions on using cannabis-based products.

We’ve now analysed their answers and produced a short report sharing our key findings.

Our policy panel will discuss these findings at their November 2019 meeting and agree what we think as an organisation and our next steps.

Key findings

How many people with Parkinson’s use cannabis?

  • 59% hadn’t used cannabis-derived products before, but would consider using them to control their symptoms.
  • 26% had used cannabis-derived products (16% are currently using them for their Parkinson’s and 10% have used them in the past).
  • 16% hadn’t used cannabis-derived products and aren’t interested in using them in the future.
  • Overwhelmingly, people with Parkinson’s would continue to use, or start using, cannabis-derived products if robust evidence became available that they’re safe and effective in treating Parkinson’s symptoms.

What products are people using?

The most common cannabis-derived product people with Parkinson’s used was CBD oil. People interested in using a cannabis-derived product in the future said this is what they’d consider using.

Where do people get cannabis from?

People who currently use cannabis-derived products, and those who had previously used them, buy them from high street shops.

However, 87% of people who hadn’t used cannabis-derived products said they would want a doctor or pharmacist to prescribe them.

What are the side effects?

Respondents who had used cannabis-derived products in the past said they didn’t experience side effects, and that the products didn’t interact with their Parkinson’s medication. This was backed up by professionals.

However, people who hadn’t used them said they were worried about potential side effects and interactions with Parkinson’s medication.

Professional advice

Most people currently using cannabis-derived products, or those who had used them in the past, didn’t get advice from professionals beforehand. Those who did are split on whether the advice was helpful.

Professionals reported that people with Parkinson’s regularly ask them about using cannabis-derived products. 70% of professional respondents said they offer advice.

86% of professionals didn’t feel confident about prescribing cannabis-based medicinal products for their patients. Many weren’t sure if the prescribing guidance is fit for purpose (it doesn’t specifically mention Parkinson’s).

Earlier this year, we surveyed 1,600 people with Parkinson's and 29 health professionals about using cannabis-derived products. Here are the results.