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Cannabis, Kings College London and Parkinsons UK

Another amazing step for CBD, its industry, its users, but more importantly, the people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. A clinical trial has been given the go-ahead to investigate how CBD could be used to possibly help people who suffer from Parkinson’s-related psychosis.

The charity, Parkinsons UK, is the biggest European charitable funder of research into Parkinson’s, and they have teamed up with the King’s College London scientists and invested £1.2 million into the phase II clinical trial. It has been revealed that ‘this is the first large-scale trial which will aim to provide preliminary evidence for the safety and efficacy of CBD to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s-related psychosis, characterised by hallucinations and delusions.’ This project is expected to take three-and-a-half years and is part of the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, which is led by Parkinson’s UK. Unlike other companies, patient involvement and priorities are the first concerns of Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech. 

In the UK, there are currently 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s, and approximately 50-60% of these people are affected by psychosis at some point throughout their life. The Parkinson’s psychosis can include hallucinations (seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not there), and delusions (developing fixed beliefs that are not true). These symptoms can be daunting and upsetting for people with Parkinson’s as well as their families, these symptoms are usually handled by removing medication used to treat Parkinson’s. However, if these symptoms continue, at times anti-psychotic drugs can be prescribed, although this can then introduce even worse side effects. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, there are no medications licensed for this type of psychosis. After a recent survey, it was found that if strong evidence became available that the CBD products were safe and effective in treating Parkinson’s symptoms, people with Parkinson’s would continue or start to use them.

The clinical trial is set to start recruiting patients early next year, and it will consist of a six-week pilot to determine the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of pharmaceutical-grade CBD in people who suffer from Parkinson’s-related psychosis. The CBD will be orally delivered in capsules at a dose of up to 1,000 mg/day, to find the optimum dose. And then in the second stage of the trial, 120 people who suffer from Parkinson’s-related psychosis will be recruited to take part in a 12 week double-blind, placebo-controlled study. This will entail half of the group receiving the compound, and the other half of the group receiving a placebo, where researchers will then carry out thorough tests of psychotic, motor and non-motor symptoms. 

This announcement has been released ahead of the final guidance on medicinal cannabis which is expected to be published by The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence by the end of 2019. Steps are being taken by different charities and institutes to find out the potential effects of CBD, and how these effects may be able to help people all around the globe. Within the next few years with all the research and clinical trials we should be hearing a lot more news about this special cannabinoid, and its effects- so in essence; watch this space.