Parkinson's patients will be given CBD oil as part of a clinical trial that is set to kick off in 2020.
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The study will be conducted by Parkinson's UK in conjunction with King's College London, as part of a £1.2 million phase II clinical trial to investigate the possible benefits of CBD for sufferers of Parkinson's disease.
The specific focus of the trial will be aimed at demonstrating the safety, benefits, and efficacy of cannabis as a healthcare treatment option for patients suffering from hallucinations and delusions, which is often referred to as "Parkinson's-related psychosis".
The management of these issues is of critical importance for long-term patient outcomes and quality of life, as they are considered to be two of the more frightening symptoms of the disease.
If the trial is successful it may make a considerable impact on the medical landscape, as some Doctor's believe that the symptoms of Parkinson's-related psychosis are actually a side effect of the medications used to treat Parkinson's disease.
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. Parkinson's UK Director of Research, Dr Arthur Roach
Although this hypothesis has not been definitively proven, it is worth noting that the most common treatment for Parkinson's-related psychosis is simply to have the patient cease taking their Parkinson's medication. If the symptoms still persist, then antipsychotic drugs are sometimes used, however these tend to have more severe side effects.
In fact, at this point in time there are no medications that are licensed for Parkinson's-related psychosis available in the UK.
According to the Director of Research at Parkinson's UK, Dr Arthur Roach, the success of this study could help ensure that future Parkinson's patients will be able to enjoy safe, affordable access to medicinal CBD products.
"We know from a recent survey we carried out, that people with Parkinson's would continue to use, or start using, cannabis-derived products if robust evidence became available that they are safe and effective in treating Parkinson's symptoms," Roach said.
"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."
There are 145,000 people living with Parkinson's disease who are currently living in the UK. And unfortunately, that number is even higher in Australia—which is estimated to have more than 200,000 Parkinson's sufferers—despite having less than half the population of Britain.
The first stage of the study will involve a 6-week pilot program—where participants will be given up to 1,000 mg per day—to ascertain the ideal dosage of the CBD capsule medication being used. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study will then be used for the trial's second stage, which is expected to run for twelve weeks and involve 120 people.
The trial will be led by Professor Sagnik Bhattacharyya and Dr Latha Velayudhan from King's College London.
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