Updated: Feb 9
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A September 2022 peer-reviewed research study entitled "Neuroprotective Effects of Cannabidiol on Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in Parkinson's Disease" that was published in the journal Neurotoxicology investigated the potential effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
The study explained that Parkinson's disease "is the second most progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system in the elderly" and that it results in "motor impediments and cognitive dysfunctions." It noted that there presently is no cure and not even an effective treatment for this disease of the brain. One of the chief goals of a viable treatment is stopping the advancement of Parkinson's.
The cause of this common disease is unknown. Potential influences may include environmental factors such as "toxicants, free radicals, head trauma, and neuroinflammation." However, genetic influences are also believed to play a role in formation and maintenance of this disease.
Parkinson's is "a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves."
Understanding Parkinson's Disease
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota describes Parkinson's as "a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves." The famous clinic explained that "symptoms start slowly" and may manifest as a small, "barely noticeable tremor in just one hand."
The Clinic noted that, while tremors are common, Parkinson's also results in stiffness and limited mobility, including slowing of movement. "In the early stages of Parkinson's disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred," explained the organization, noting that symptoms worsen as the condition progresses over time.
Image courtesy Leafwize Naturals
According to the Parkinson's Foundation in New York City, nearly one million people in the United States suffer from Parkinson's disease and this number is "more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Lou Gehrig's disease."
The number of Parkinson's patients in the U.S. is predicted to rise to 1.2 million by 2023, according to the organization. Each year, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's. Globally, more than 10 million people suffer from this neurological condition.
"Each year, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's. Globally, more than 10 million people suffer from this neurological condition."
"Incidence of Parkinson's disease increases with age," reported the organization, noting that only four percent of Parkinson's patients are diagnosed before age 50." Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinson's than women.
The scientists observed that Parkinson's patients can be identified based on particular symptoms, including "motor dysfunctions, postural instability, bradykinesia [impairment of voluntary motor control and slow movements or freezing], rigidity, and dementia."
The study's authors noted that, together, "these indications are motor features of Parkinson's," but that non-motor features comprise "dysphagia [difficulty swallowing], adipsia [decreased or absent thirst], and sleep disorder behavior."
Parkinson's patients display particular symptoms, including "motor dysfunctions, postural instability, bradykinesia [impairment of voluntary motor control and slow movements], rigidity, and dementia."
The researchers noted that CBD "is a cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis sativa plant and possesses anti-depressive, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative effects." They declared the goal of their scientific investigation "to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of CBD on Parkinson's disease."
The study reported that CBD conveys a wide range of potential benefits. "An earlier study showed that CBD has a broader range of anxiolytic [anxiety reducing], hypnosis, anti-depressive, anti-inflammatory, and anti-schizophrenia effects," noted the research.
Prior research revealed that CBD delivers "synaptic plasticity" (a beneficial characteristic for conditions involving neurodegeneration like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's) and that it facilitates neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons and brain cells).
CBD Displays Multiple Paths of Action
The research noted that CBD, unlike many drugs that target only one type of cellular receptor, acts in "various molecular targets and may involve numerous pathophysiological processes." These molecular targets include the primary CB1 and CB2 cellular receptors of the mammalian endocannabinoid system, which it deemed play a role that is "significant for CBD's positive neuroprotective effects in short- and long-term memory issues."
CBD promoted protection of the brain via a number of biochemical mechanisms and reduced the accumulation of chemicals that encourage the progression of Parkinson's.
CBD promoted protection of the brain via a number of biochemical mechanisms and reduced the accumulation of chemicals that encourage the progression of Parkinson's. "Furthermore, CBD enhanced 'food sensing behavior' [in the transgenic worms]" and extended their lifespan.
The study concluded that its data indicate that the cannabinoid CBD delivers "advantageous effects" to Parkinson's sufferers. Its authors concluded that their research findings support CBD "as an anti-parkinsonian drug and may exert its effects by raising lipid depositions to enhance proteasome activity and reduce oxidative stress."
"CBD could restrain Parkinson's patients' inflammations" and decrease damage to brain cells and neurons caused by diseases such as Parkinson's.