A new open label study  looking into the effects of cannabidiol-based (CBD) Epidiolex® for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease found that the compound had positive effects in patients as CBD continues to be used in treating the disease despite few medical studies.
The study utilized 100mg/ml Epidiolex across a 10–15-day period among participants suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. The dose was titrated from 5 to 20-25 mg/kg/day; for a 150-pound person, this amounts to roughly 340 mg up to 1,700 mg per day. In this study, the dose ranged up to 3,460 mg/day.
In total, 10 participants reported a mix of adverse effects and benefits resulting from the treatment. The adverse effects included diarrhea, abdominal pain, headaches, and increased appetite. Three other participants left the study altogether due to “intolerance” to Epidiolex treatment. The authors note that diarrhea “could be related to sesame oil.” No adverse event was considered serious.
That said, benefits were found after the 10-15-day period, including improved motor functions, nighttime sleep, and behavioral/emotional control. These benefits persisted two weeks after stopping. The researchers speculate that CBD’s interactions with the serotonin system and other non-cannabinoid signaling systems may be responsible. As an example, CBD indirectly boosts dopamine through G-coupled protein receptor GPR6.
They were quick to point out that elevated liver enzymes were detected in five patients, which they attribute to the high level of the max dosage. This and all other side effects resolved when CBD was discontinued.
In all, the researchers concluded that CBD may have positive outcomes in treating Parkinson’s. Randomized controlled studies will be needed to truly determine its efficacy in treating the disease. This marks another positive development in studies looking into the efficacy of CBD in treating a whole host of conditions, not just Parkinson’s.
- Leehey MA, et al. Safety and tolerability of cannabidiol in Parkinson Disease: An open label, dose-escalation study. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2020;5(4):326–336. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2019.0068
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