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Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that generally occurs in the older population. Studies show that it is the second most common disease Alzheimer’s disease after. Although the disease has been studied for more than 200 years after James Parkinson first discovered it in 1817, the root causes of Parkinson’s disease are still under investigation in Finland as well. However, it is known that there are connections and risk factors related to both the heredity of the disease and the environment. The motor abilities of the person suffering from the disease begin to weaken gradually, making it difficult to move and eventually speak, in addition, the muscles begin to stiffen, and tremors and muscle tremors can also occur as symptoms. The article presents Parkinson’s disease in more detail, and how multi-prone CBD affects its various causes and symptoms.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
There are four primary motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease:
- resting tremor
- typical muscle stiffness or spasticity
- slowing of movements, i.e. bradykinesia
- postural instability (balance disorders)
These start slowly over months and years. Symptoms are almost always first in the limbs of one side, until over time they become bilateral. Doctors mainly diagnose Parkinson’s disease by finding two or more of these symptoms, but not every symptom needs to be present to consider a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. In fact, younger people may only notice one or two of these motor symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease.
The slow, rhythmic tremor typical of Parkinson’s disease usually begins at rest in one arm or leg and eventually affects both sides of the body and can also spread to the face. Stiffness of the limbs or body is also called spasticity. Stiffness, especially in the early stages of the disease, may be mistakenly associated with e.g. arthritis. Muscle stiffness manifests itself as slowness, for example, in bending the arm, and when the other person assists with the bending, there is resistance in the movement.
Slowing down of movements can be seen, for example, as difficulty getting up from a chair, starting to walk is also sluggish and the steps are short. In addition to the general slowness of movements, there is typically a reduced or mask-like expression (hypomimia), a decrease in the frequency of blinking the eyes, and problems with fine motor coordination. Postural instability is more common in the later stages of the disease and includes the inability to maintain a stable upright position. Balance disorders in Parkinson’s disease are associated with a tendency to fall, especially backwards; in fact, even a light nudge can cause a person with Parkinson’s to take steps backwards or even fall. (1) (2)
For the tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease, many people have received great help from CBD. This the article includes a video of Larry’s intense rest tremors disappearing instantly with CBD.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra of the brain. Because of this, in addition to movement-related difficulties, visual disturbances are common, as a decrease in dopamine can affect the visual cortex. Parkinson’s can therefore weaken the mobility of the eyes just like the limbs. People with Parkinson’s disease can experience many types of visual disturbances.
The changes in the structure of the eye associated with Parkinson’s disease are mainly limited to the effects on the retina, which is affected by the reduction of dopamine in the same way as the nucleus. Color vision, especially the ability to distinguish between different shades, can be impaired due to the loss of dopaminergic receptors in the retina. Symptoms may also include dry eyes and the inability to control eye movements and blinking. (3)
On a mental level, symptoms such as apathy, depression and anxiety can occur with Parkinson’s disease. It is not clear whether the psychological symptoms are a response to the increasing losses caused by the neurodegenerative disorder, or whether depression and anxiety share the same neurodegenerative causes as the motor components of the disease.
Both can be true. Given that dementia occurs in many later stages of the disease, it seems likely that affective symptoms in the earlier stages of the disease are causally related.
Cognitive and affective symptoms can be mild or severe. About 50 percent of Parkinson’s patients have anxiety. About a third have depression, and about 50 percent have different types of hallucinations. Milder hallucinations are common. The more serious hallucinations, on the other hand, seem to be a central disturbing part of the mental symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, it is not clear whether the psychotic symptoms are caused by the disease or the sleep disturbances caused by it. (4)
Stages of Parkinson’s disease
The course of the disease is very individual, but the first symptoms can be non-motor, these symptoms include mood disorders, cognitive disorders, sleep disorders , blood pressure fluctuations, constipation, urinary frequency, pain symptoms , etc.
Advanced Parkinson’s disease usually makes a person unable to live independently. This means that the person has severe mobility problems and is unable to perform daily activities without assistance.
In addition, the disease is sometimes accompanied by daytime sleepiness and severe exhaustion. Memory disorders, slowing down of thinking and depression can also occur. However, rarely does one person get all these symptoms.
Dr. Margaret M. Hoehn, a pioneer in understanding Parkinson’s disease, discusses the Hoehn and Yahr scale, which is used around the world to classify patients in research studies. He has deliberately used the word “Parkinson” because the term applies to all forms of the disease, including Parkinson’s disease.
The method by which the degree of severity of Parkinson’s disease is designated today using the Hoehn and Yahr scale was published in 1967. The original definition of the five levels of difficulty is as follows:
Phase I: initial symptoms
Symptoms on one side of the body, where functional impairment is usually minimal or absent. The patient has tremors (dyskinesia), stiffness, slowness of movements and little or poor condition in the arms and/or legs on one side of the body, sometimes also on the other side of the face. This phase of Parkinson’s disease often goes completely unnoticed. Later, after receiving the diagnosis, the patient may remember, for example, that he noticed an intermittent tremor in one hand many years before. Early stage diagnosis is currently so challenging that sometimes the disease has to develop for several years before a diagnosis can be made with certainty.
Stage II: initial symptoms progress
Bilateral or midline symptoms, without loss of balance. Months or years later, similar symptoms and signs appear on the opposite side of the body, or other signs appear in the “midline,” what doctors call “axial” symptoms. These may include bilateral loss of facial expression (masked face); decreased eye blinking; speech abnormalities; soft voice, monotony, loss of volume, stiffness of the trunk muscles (rigidity) that makes the patient appear clumsy or causes neck and back pain; postural disorders, general sluggishness, but still able to perform all daily activities.
Stage III: advanced Parkinson’s disease
The first signs of impaired balance reflexes. Loss of balance and the inability to make the rapid, automatic, involuntary movements necessary to prevent falls is one of the most worrisome and dangerous aspects of parkinsonism, and one of the most difficult to treat. Even if it is only mild, it is a criterion that distinguishes stage II from stage III. All other features of parkinsonism are evident, and there is usually no reason to doubt the diagnosis. The main factor that distinguishes stage III from stage IV is that the patient is still completely independent in all daily activities (dressing, hygiene, eating, etc.) Although he is somewhat limited, he has work opportunities depending on the workplace. A chance for a normal life.
Stage IV: End-stage Parkinson’s disease
Fully advanced, severely disabling disease; the patient is still able to walk and stand without assistance, but is clearly incapacitated. The patient is not able to live an independent life because he needs help with some daily activities. It is this inability to live alone that marks the transition from stage III to stage IV. If the patient is still able to live alone, no matter how difficult it is, his disease is stage III and not stage IV. However, a stage IV patient is still able to stand and walk without assistance.
Stage V: Final stages of Parkinson’s disease
Confinement to a bed or wheelchair, unless assistive devices are used. The patient may have the following symptoms: inability to get out of a chair or out of bed without assistance; tendency to fall when standing or turning; freezing, stumbling. Without an assistant immediately present, the patient is at risk of falling.
Rather, this method of grading severity is a mixture that combines the patient’s symptoms, the physical symptoms observed by the doctor, and the patient’s ability to function. In some cases it is not applicable. Sometimes, for example, phase I is missed and the disease breaks out bilaterally or becomes generalized. Similarly, many patients never reach stage V. Patients should not fearfully conclude that when their balance becomes unstable, they should immediately begin to watch for signs that they will soon become dependent on others.
Despite these drawbacks, this difficulty classification method has proven to be practical for decades. The multistage classification has been particularly useful in evaluating the reported results of new treatments and in planning research projects because patients respond differently depending on the disease, the patient’s age, and other factors. A stage II patient can become almost normal with proper treatment, while a stage IV patient has residual symptoms and improvement is never as significant or dramatic.
There are other scales for assessing the severity of parkinsonism: the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), the modified Columbia scale, the Webster scale, the Schwab and England Disability Scale, the Northwestern University Disability Scale, and numerous others, each with their own proponents and utility. (5)
Prognosis of Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is not considered fatal, but people with Parkinson’s disease have a shorter life expectancy than the general population.
New research provides clues as to why some patients die earlier than others. Danish researchers observed from a follow-up of 200 Parkinson’s patients that a later diagnosis, poor results in exercise tests, psychotic symptoms and dementia were associated with a shorter life expectancy. In addition, men with Parkinson’s disease were more likely to die early than women.
To identify risk factors associated with early death, researchers at Stravanger University Hospital in Norway analyzed data from 230 Parkinson’s patients who participated in a larger study. The analysis revealed that:
- The average time from onset of symptoms to death was 16 years.
- The average age at death was 81 years.
- Dementia patients were almost twice as likely to die prematurely as patients without memory problems.
- Patients with Parkinson’s disease-related mental health symptoms were nearly 50 percent more likely to die prematurely than patients without those symptoms.
- Men with Parkinson’s disease were about 60 percent more likely to die prematurely than women. (6)
Alleviation and treatment of Parkinson’s disease
Now that we know more about Parkinson’s disease, can we somehow alleviate the challenges associated with it? Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, but some things give it relief. It is important to maintain mobility by walking as well as general beneficial exercise and suitably challenging exercise. It is also good to maintain coordination and other fine motor skills by practicing.
It would also be good to find a diet that relieves inflammation, but this is individual for everyone. However, some anti-inflammatory herbs, such as the well-known turmeric, have been studied to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The same is done by some antioxidatives and e.g. dopamine boosting herbs such as Bacopa monnieri and Mucuna pruriens. (7) Mucuna contains a significant amount of levodopa (L-dopa), so its use must be coordinated with prescription levodopa. One study has shown that this herb is better than synthetic pure levodopa in the long-term treatment of Parkinson’s disease. (8) Caffeine is also known to have positive effects on Parkinson’s disease. (9) But one compound is particularly good for Parkinson’s disease, and we’ll delve into its effects below.
The use of CBD products made from hemp has become more common among people with Parkinson’s disease. CBD is of the endocannabinoid system a functional cannabinoid. It relieves Parkinson’s symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, muscle tremors and impaired sleep.
What are the benefits of using CBD in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has grown in popularity over time in the wellness and health world. Researchers confirm that CBD can help with various ailments, such as pain and anxiety. Next, we look at the potential benefits of using CBD in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Supports dopamine production
CBD has been shown to improve dopamine production in at least one preclinical study (10). It works through the recently discovered GPR6 receptors located in the brain in the same area where dopamine is produced (11).
If this new and significant discovery is found to be significant enough through future research, we can expect CBD to become the primary treatment option for Parkinson’s disease. Research still needs to be continued.
Brain inflammations lead to a loss of dopamine, making this one of the main factors maintaining Parkinson’s disease (12). When CBD is used to treat brain inflammation, dopamine increases. According to research, reduced inflammation slows the progression of the disease because CBD regulates several key functions related to the inflammatory process (13). Alleviation of inflammation can also reduce general depressive symptoms.
Improves sleep quality
CBD is known for its mild sedative effect (14). CBD improves both the quality and quantity of sleep in many clinical studies (15). Other cannabinoids , including CBG (cannabigerol) , act like muscle relaxants, having a remedial effect on some causes of insomnia associated with Parkinson’s disease (16).
Reduces psychotic symptoms
Psychotic symptoms develop as Parkinson’s disease progresses. Patients experience hallucinations. Low dose CBD has been shown to reduce the occurrence of hallucinations. This greatly helps patients to manage the disease.
Reduces muscle tremors
CBD has been shown to reduce muscle tremors in Parkinson’s disease and for other similar types of neurodegenerative disorders such as MS (multiple sclerosis) (18) and Huntington’s disease (19).
CBD works significantly as a neuroprotective substance, i.e. it is able to prevent the death of nerve cells , which makes it a neurodegenerative disease reliever. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Some also believe that oxidative stress is the cause of Parkinson’s disease.
Supports a healthy microbiome
Theories related to the effects of the microbiome have received evidence in recent years. Research so far strongly suggests that changes in the microbiota seem to influence the emergence of neuroinflammation. (20) Also at the end of 2021, Finnish researchers have obtained samples that show that Parkinson’s disease begins with a disruption of the microbiome. (21) More about CBD and the microbiome can be found in the article The effect of CBD on intestinal well-being .
What is the recommended dose of CBD?
Not enough clinical studies have yet been conducted to determine the right dosage for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, but the use of CBD has been extensively studied in the treatment of another similar disease, multiple sclerosis.
Studies of multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases often use high doses of CBD to produce benefits. In general, it can be said that a higher dose is needed to achieve a benefit similar to the study results.
It is recommended to start with a low dose and increase to a high dose. You can find more detailed information on the dosage of CBD From the CBD Dosing Guide .
It is also possible to use CBD externally as a cream for muscle tension.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Most of the treatment options available, including CBD, are intended to slow the progression of the disease and treat symptoms.
However, CBD is an excellent option for both of these purposes; it alleviates many common side effects (including insomnia, depression, anxiety, muscle tremors) and may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Most Parkinson’s patients take large doses of CBD for long periods of time. This is why it is recommended to switch to the strongest possible CBD products after milder CBD products.
- Atula. S. 2018. Duodecim. Parkinson’s disease. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00055. Referred on 10/10/2022.
- American Parkinson Disease Association. Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease https://www.apdaparkinson.org/what-is-parkinsons/symptoms/
- American Parkinson Disease Association. Parkinson’s Effects on Vision. https://www.apdaparkinson.org/what-is-parkinsons/symptoms/eye-vision-issues/
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- 2018. Parkinson’s Resource Organization. Five Stages of Parkinson’s. https://www.parkinsonsresource.org/news/articles/five-stages-of-parkinsons/
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- 2021. Evening News. Finnish researchers believe they have found the root cause of Parkinson’s disease https://www.is.fi/terveys/art-2000007967963.html