Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a major neurodegenerative disease (ND), presenting a progressive degeneration of the nervous system characterized by a loss of dopamine in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Recent findings have shown that oxidative stress and inflammation play key roles in the development of PD. However, therapies remain uncertain and research for new treatment is of the utmost importance. This review focuses on the potential effects of using cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of PD and on some of the presumed mechanisms by which CBD provides its beneficial properties. CBD medication downregulates GSK-3β, the main inhibitor of the WNT/β-catenin pathway. Activation of the WNT/β-catenin could be associated with the control of oxidative stress and inflammation. Future prospective clinical trials should focus on CBD and its multiple interactions in the treatment of PD.
Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; WNT/β-catenin pathway; cannabidiol; inflammation; oxidative stress.
Conflict of interest statement
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationship that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Cannabis and synthetic cannabinoid formulations have now been legally approved in several countries for treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Hence, PD patients consult physicians more frequently for prescription of cannabinoids to alleviate symptoms that might not respond well to dopaminergic treatment. Despite the increasing volume of research generated in the field of cannabinoids and their effect on Parkinson’s disease, there is still paucity of sufficient clinical data about the efficacy and safety in PD patients. There is increasing understanding of the endocannabinoid system, and the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in basal ganglia structures might suggest potential benefit on parkinsonian symptoms. Concerning clinical research, only one of to date four conducted randomized placebo-controlled trials showed an effect on motor symptoms with alleviation of levodopa-induced dyskinesia. There are a growing number of uncontrolled trials and case reports that suggest beneficial effects of cannabinoids in PD patients. However, the variety of substances investigated, the varying routes of intake, differing doses and time courses make it difficult to compare data. We here provide an overview of the current literature in this field and discuss a pragmatic approach for the clinical use of cannabinoids in PD.
Keywords: Cannabinoids; Parkinson’s disease; THC; Therapy.