When you look into CBD and Parkinson’s disease, you start to realize that the narrative is more confusing than Back to the Future 2. When there are a lot of conflicting interests, the water is always going to get a bit murky. Some want to be healed, some want to make money. What can you do?
Let’s look at the facts:
On September 10th, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced:
“As part of its regular monitoring of health-related advertising claims, the Federal Trade Commission today sent warning letters to three companies that sell oils, tinctures, capsules, “gummies,” and creams containing cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. The letters warn the companies, which the FTC is not identifying publicly, that it is illegal to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease without competent and reliable scientific evidence to support such claims.”
Essentially, the FTC has warned these companies that it is illegal to convey the impression that CBD is a viable treatment for Parkinson’s disease and implying that they have done exactly that.
Remember, there’s an established treatment for Parkinson’s disease — but it’s not perfect.
Levodopa is the most effective and most commonly used treatment for PD. This medication helps replenish the level of dopamine in the brain. Levodopa addresses many of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. That includes tremors or muscle stiffness.
However, this medicine does little to tackle the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. These are the symptoms that can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life. They include anxiety, depression, and sleep quality. What’s more, prolonged use of levodopa may cause side effects like agitation, anxiety, confusion, and nausea. It may also cause a type of tremor that’s the result of the medication itself, not PD.
CBD appears to be best suited to address those non-motor issues and potential side effects, rather than motor issues. One study (Trusted Source) with more than 200 people found that that use of cannabis had a high effectiveness on non-motor symptoms. However, this study included THC with CBD, not CBD alone.
And this isn’t the only one. There are hundreds of articles and advertisements online stating emphatically that CBD oil can help with Parkinson’s. So what’s the truth?
Are all these people part of a vast movement of snake oil salesmen relentlessly scamming the sick and infirm?
Or is the FTC’s opposition to CBD part of a huge Big Pharma conspiracy?
In an article from February 2019, called ‘CBD: A Natural Remedy that Decreases Symptomatic Behaviors of Parkinson’s Disease?’ Dementia Care Central state:
A healthy, natural alternative to traditional medications is becoming more and more accessible for persons suffering the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Studies show that CBD, a Cannabidiol also referred to as CBD-rich cannabis, may offer much-needed relief for the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s. CBD is a natural compound found in cannabis sativa plants, with none of the adverse side effects of prescription medications and without the “high” effect from THC in marijuana. And while traditional medications may become less effective over time, or stop working completely, CBD users are hailing long-lasting benefits, with many giving up their pharmaceuticals for good.
Whilst this quite general and it does not disclose specific studies (as many other articles do), it does go on to provide some great info about the myths of CBD:
Myth one: CBD Makes You Feel “High”
The effects of CBD and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), both cannabinoids that are extracted from cannabis sativa plants, are often confused…. However, only THC produces a feeling of being “high”……CBD-rich cannabis usage does not have any mind-altering effects.
Myth Two: CBD is a Regulated Product
Due to a lack of regulation when it comes to CBD products, there is no guarantee that a product containing a certain number of CBD mg (for instance 30mg) is the same as another stating it has the same mg dosage of CBD. Therefore, there may be a lack of consistency from one product to the next. A researcher at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia discovered that almost 70% of CBD products sold on the internet are under labelled or over labelled when it comes to the concentration of CBD within the product. Just 30% of the products bought contained a concentration of CBD within 10% of what the label indicated. For the best and most consistently produced CBD products, locally sourced medical CBD is recommended. This is because these products are held to a higher level of lab testing for strength, as well as impurities.
Myth Three: CBD has Sedative Properties
While some people may believe that CBD is a sedative, the truth is that it actually produces alertness without negatively impacting one’s sleep…… However, one may take a CBD with a terpene (fragrant and flavorful essential oils found in plants) called myrcene, which is produced by several cannabis strains, that has sedating properties.
Myth Four: CBD is Legal in All States
As you will learn more below under “Legal Status of CBD in the U.S., CBD is not legal in all 50 states. However, only in 3 states is it illegal: Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. That said, CBD can be purchased legally online and delivered to all states. One can do so.”
So, we have an unregulated industry which often plays fast with the facts about CBD and, a federal agency prepared to jail those making false claims about this substance.
A study at the Colorado School of Medicine has demonstrated relief of issues including tremors and difficulty sleeping. CBD studies are also showing it as effective in treating the psychosis that comes with PDD (Parkinson’s disease dementia)
The problem, as I see it, is that while CBD can be effective in treating certain symptoms of Parkinson’s, this fledgling industry is in such a wild west state at the moment that the power of CBD is often being exaggerated and taken out of context.
Two studies presented at the 21st International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders further explored this possibility and assessed the effects of oral cannabidiol (CBD) and inhaled cannabis in patients with Parkinson’s disease…… The researchers enrolled 13 patients who had a rest tremor amplitude score of 2 or greater on item 3.17 of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). They excluded patients who had taken cannabinoids in the previous 30 days or had a history of drug or alcohol dependence.
Over a 31-day treatment period, patients received 5-, 7.5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-mg/kg/day doses of CBD. They received the highest dose on days 17–31. Patients had clinic visits at screening, baseline, and after the 31-day treatment period. Of the 13 patients enrolled, one failed the screening visit, another patient did not start the study drug, and another patient was on the study drug for two days. The 10 remaining patients were included in the adverse events analysis. Adverse events were mostly mild to moderate and included fatigue, diarrhea, somnolence, elevated liver enzymes, and dizziness. Three of the 10 patients dropped out of the study due to intolerance. One of the three patients had an allergic reaction and two had abdominal pain. There were no serious adverse events.
These preliminary results indicate that CBD is tolerated, safe, and has beneficial effects in Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Leehey and colleagues said. The investigators next plan to conduct a crossover, double-blind, randomized controlled trial with 50 subjects.”
I am not trying to say that this study proves anything other than this debate is far from over. But if CBD doesn’t work and thousands of people were discovering this after trying it, wouldn’t that be a story we would have heard?
In these times of disinformation when there is a glimmer of hope that corporations are beginning to lose their power, the truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. What that truth is, hopefully, one day we will know for sure. For now, know that the signs are positive and the future could be extremely bright for people struggling with Parkinson’s.
In the words of the immortal Marty Mcfly, played by legend Michael.J.Fox, a longtime advocate of CBD:
“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet, but your kids are gonna love it.“
This article is a collection of ideas by the author. It does not constitute facts or advice in any form. Please consult a medical professional and check the legality in your area before purchasing or taking CBD products.
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