Cannabis also could interact with other medications you are taking. While interactions are largely unknown, adding cannabis to a complex regimen of Parkinson’s and other prescription medications could present a risk. It’s important to tell your Parkinson’s doctor what you are taking, so that they can alert you to possible interactions.
How can I access cannabis?
Cannabis refers to products from the Cannabis plant, including marijuana.
Several factors limit the ability to perform research and interpret results:
The Michael J. Fox Foundation also recently convened a workshop on this topic with field leaders and other Parkinson’s organizations. Participants examined opportunities and challenges, agreeing that much work remains to understand how patients and doctors are using and talking about these products; to build education and communication around cannabis and Parkinson’s; and to evaluate safety, potential benefits, side effects and drug interactions, as well as the optimal dosing and formulations.
There is no preferred method of CBD administration for persons with Parkinson’s Disease. Patients should choose a method with which they are most comfortable and one which is not hampered by tremors. If success with CBD is found, users should choose an administration method which can accommodate frequent and ongoing usage.
● Marijuana-derived CBD and medical cannabis is legally available by prescription in an additional 28 states (as of May 2021). These include Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
People frequently want to know if Medicare covers the cost of CBD products. As stated above, CBD (as well as THC) does not have adequate FDA approval. Therefore, Medicare does not cover the cost of such products, nor does Medicare allow it to be used towards a Part B (health insurance coverage) or prescription drug plan deductible. This is true for all conditions, not just for Parkinson’s disease.
How to Obtain CBD
A difference between PDD and Alzheimer’s disease (beyond the physical impact) is that while Alzheimer’s more directly targets a person’s memory and ability to communicate, PDD is often associated with deteriorating problem-solving skills and thinking speed. A rarer form of dementia called Lewy-body dementia, however, has symptoms closer to PDD. (For more on PDD, click here.) https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/aboutdementia/parkinsons/
The VA will not directly cover the cost of products containing CBD. However, there are VA pensions, such as the basic pension and Aid & Attendance (A&A) Pension from which veterans or surviving spouses receive a monthly monetary benefit. Recipients of these pensions are able to use the money as they see fit, which means theoretically that one could use it towards purchasing CBD products. Learn more about these pensions here.
Insurance Coverage of CBD
For convenience, many dispensaries also provide delivery services. Unfortunately, dispensaries are not legal in every state. Oftentimes one can find hemp-derived CBD in local health stores. If taken once daily, a continuous regimen of CBD would cost approximately $2-$3 per day. As detailed in the following section, insurance will not cover the cost, therefore the daily cost would be out-of-pocket.
CBD is Legal in All States
As you will learn more below under “Legal Status of CBD in the U.S.,” CBD is in a legal gray area in some states. In Idaho, for instance, only CBD with absolutely zero THC is legal. South Dakota was the last state to say CBD of all forms is illegal, and voters have since changed that with a legalization law that goes into effect in July 2021. Regardless of specific local laws, CBD can be purchased legally online and delivered to all states. One can do so here.