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How Cannabidiol (CBD) Affects Parkinson’s Disease

By Dan Putnam September 20, 2016 0 comments



There is no way to recover from Parkinson’s disease – this degenerative condition is lifelong. However, Parkinson’s patients can continue living healthy, productive lives for many years after their diagnosis if they can find ways to manage their symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. For people with Parkinson’s disease, the goal is to retain mobility for as long as possible.


There are a number of drugs on the market for treating Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, some of them may improve symptoms in the short term but hasten the progression of the illness over the long term. Cannabidiol – also called CBD – might be a better solution. Cannabidiol is a natural compound extracted from the cannabis plant that actually slows down or prevents neurological decline, helping Parkinson’s patients live well for as long as they can.


Parkinson’s Disease: An Overview

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease of the nervous system. It is a chronic condition – there is no cure and no way to reverse it. It causes tremors throughout the body, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), stiffness, and loss of coordination and balance. People over the age of 60 are at the highest risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, but anyone can get it – five to ten percent of people who develop this condition are under the age of 50.


Parkinson’s disease is caused by the death of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Once these neurons die off, they are not replaced. Dopamine is essential for muscle movement, so as neurons die and dopamine levels in the body drop, movement becomes more and more difficult. When Parkinson’s patients lose their coordination and ability to move freely, they often lose their independence too.


People with Parkinson’s disease may become very shaky and have trouble with fine motor skills like writing or fastening buttons. As the disease progresses, they may also become uncoordinated and lose their balance easily. Some have a hard time talking and swallowing. Parkinson’s disease can also cause mental symptoms like frustration, anger, anxiety, and depression.


Cannabidiol: A Natural Alternative to Pharmaceuticals?

Many of the pharmaceutical drugs available to treat Parkinson’s disease work by artificially raising dopamine levels in the body, masking the symptoms of the disease. However, these drugs produce neurotoxic chemicals in the body as a side effect, causing neurons to die even faster. Many people with Parkinson’s disease choose to avoid these drugs because they make the disease worse in the long term.


One alternative treatment for Parkinson’s disease is cannabidiol, often abbreviated CBD. Cannabidiol is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. It is one of the best known and most medicinally useful components of cannabis. Because it produces no psychoactive side effects, cannabidiol is a good choice for those who don’t want the “high” effect that comes with using the whole cannabis plant medicinally.


CBD has the remarkable ability to heal and regulate many different systems of the body. It has anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and antipsychotic effects – to name only a few. CBD has also been shown to have neuroprotective effects. This could make it a safe, non-toxic treatment for Parkinson’s disease.


Cannabidiol and Parkinson’s Disease

Studies have found that cannabis-based treatments like CBD could have the potential to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease by preventing neuron damage and death. Evidence indicates that CBD suppresses the neurotransmitters that over-stimulate and kill neurons, prolonging neuron life. CBD also has antioxidant effects that protect neurons from free radical damage. These neuroprotective effects could be very good news for people with Parkinson’s disease: cannabis-based compounds may be able to slow down the irreversible damage the disease causes instead of just covering up the symptoms for a while.


Besides protecting essential dopamine-producing neurons, cannabis and CBD also have been shown to ease other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Cannabis can help relieve the sleep disturbances and pain that often trouble Parkinson’s patients. CBD also has antidepressant and anxiolytic properties, which relieve the anxiety and depression Parkinson’s disease can cause.



For people living with Parkinson’s disease, cannabidiol could be one of the keys to retaining health and independence for as long as possible. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, which relieve symptoms temporarily at the cost of hastening the progression of the disease, cannabidiol actually slows the progression of Parkinson’s disease by staving off neural degeneration while relieving other symptoms such as depression and pain. If you or a loved one is battling Parkinson’s disease and want a natural, non-toxic treatment, a cannabis-based option like cannabidiol may be the solution for you.

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