A clinical trial will get under way in the UK next year to study the effectiveness of cannabidiol in treating hallucinations and delusions in patients living with Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) impacts the nervous system; damaging nerve cells in a part of the brain that produces dopamine. While Parkinson’s is probably most commonly known for its impact on control of muscles and movement, it can also result in hallucinations and delusions – a condition known as Parkinson’s Disease psychosis.
However, it’s thought by some that Parkinson’s Disease psychosis may be brought on by the medications used in treating PD.
Parkinson’s UK is partnering with King’s College London and investing £1.2 million in a phase II clinical trial of the potential benefits of CBD in alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s-related psychosis.
“There are many unanswered questions about the value of CBD for people with Parkinson’s, but this trial will help us to determine whether it can help with the debilitating symptoms of hallucinations and delusions,” said Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK. “If successful, this trial could result in people with Parkinson’s being able to access a regulated medicine, rather than reverting to expensive unregulated supplements that haven’t been monitored for their effectiveness.”
The initiative will kick off with a six-week pilot to ascertain the optimal dose of oral CBD capsules. During this phase, participants will consume doses of up to 1,000 mg/day. This stage will be followed by 120 people with Parkinson’s-related psychosis participating in a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
A recent survey carried out by the organisation indicated a strong interest among those living with Parkinson’s in medical cannabis generally. 59% hadn’t used cannabis-derived products previously, but would consider use to control their symptoms. 26% had used cannabis-derived products and 16% are currently using them. The most commonly used product those living with Parkinson’s consume is CBD oil.
There are currently 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK. In Australia the figure is higher even though the country has a much lower population. According to Parkinson’s Australia, more than 200,000 Australians are living with the condition.
Approximately half of PD patients will experience Parkinson’s disease psychosis.
There has been some previous research into the use of medical cannabis in treating/managing Parkinson’s – among it was a 2017 study out of Tel Aviv University and prior to that, one from Touro College of Pharmacy in New York.