Does CBD Help With Parkinson's Disease Symptoms?

Impaired motor function is one of the first and most noticeable symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The National Institute on Aging says tremors, slowed movement, muscle stiffness, and balance are the four main hallmarks of Parkinson's. Motor function declines, affecting the ability to walk, write, stand, exhibit facial expressions, eat, and use the bathroom properly. Changes in cognitive function may follow or develop alongside other symptoms, depending on the progression of the disease. Cognitive impairment can appear as memory problems, difficulty with attention and focus, and inability to complete tasks. 

According to the Parkinson's Foundation, non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's can prompt mood changes like depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, or apathy. Research shows that mood directly affects cognitive function, and a 2013 study published in Psychiatric Clinics of North America showed a strong correlation between depression and cognitive impairment in older adults. Moreover, a history of depression doubles the chances of developing dementia later in life. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to help with depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment (via Healthline), but does CBD help with Parkinson's disease symptoms?

CBD can help with Parkinson's disease symptoms

CBD is a non-psychoactive derivative of the cannabis plant that contains potent cannabinoids, compounds found in cannabis plants that exert various influences on regions throughout the brain (per News Medical Life Sciences). The brain is sprinkled with cannabinoid receptors that house naturally occurring endocannabinoids in the brain. A 2010 review in Physiology illustrates how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls motor function and muscle movement, two of the main areas Parkinson's patients experience the worst symptoms. 

When specific cannabinoids (such as CBD) lock into endocannabinoid receptors, the results can seem magical. While current research into the benefits and uses of CBD and other cannabinoids is limited, Healthline explains how CBD could help with Parkinson's symptoms, including pain, sleep problems, tremors, psychosis, and overall quality of life. A 2022 study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that CBD significantly improved motor deficits and exerted protective effects on the mid-brain region of Parkinson's disease model mice. 

According to a 2020 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, loss of dopamine neurons is a major factor in non-motor Parkinson's symptoms, but people with Parkinson's do not respond well to pharmaceutical dopaminergic anti-depressants. In fact, traditional anti-depressants may aggravate symptoms. However, the study showed that 300 milligrams of CBD significantly improved participants' scores on questionnaires regarding well-being and quality of life. Although more research is needed, current evidence suggests CBD can help with Parkinson's disease symptoms.