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New Research, Medications and CBD for Parkinson’s

[The Parkinson's Podcast™]

New Research, Medications and CBD for Parkinson’s


There are a lot of medications on the market to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and finding the right ones for you can take some trial and error.

In this episode with Dr. Trevor Hawkins, you will learn:

  • About the most common medications that people with Parkinson’s take 
  • The biggest problem people with Parkinson’s face when relying on oral medications
  • About current research and clinical trials that may result in better solutions in the future
  • The one proven activity we know about that can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s
  • About marijuana, CBD, how they work and what the research says about their efficacy


  • One of the biggest issues with oral medications is that you may have a lot of ON and OFF periods
  • Rytary is an extended-release combination of carbidopa-levodopa designed to maintain a steady level of relief and minimize peaks and valleys
  • Duopa is a suspension form of carbidopa-levodopa that is delivered continuously by a pump through a tube into your intestine for up to 16 hours
  • NeuroDerm is a continuous flow patch that is in clinical trials and may be available in 2019
  • Ropinirole is an oral dopamine agonist that’s used to treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s
  • Neupro is a dopamine agonist that is delivered via a patch
  • Apomorphine is an injection to treat loss of body movement control and it’s currently in clinical trials in the US
  • Current research and clinical trials are focused on developing medications that are more specific and only hit certain receptors so they produce fewer side effects
  • Exercise is the one proven way to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s
  • There are exciting trials being done with the cancer drug Nilotinib to test if it can modulate dopamine in people with Parkinson’s
  • Using CBD oil to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s is becoming more and more common; however, the lack of oversight and inconsistency from batch to batch are big problems
  • There’s a trial going on at the University of Colorado right now for a CBD pill to treat Parkinson’s tremor
  • The biggest hurdle for CBD studies is that there’s no monetary support – unlike the money that big pharma companies get
  • If you want to experiment with CBD oil, make sure that you tell all of your providers about it because there can be serious drug interactions and be aware that each batch you get can be very different
  • There are two species of cannabis – marijuana (15-40% THC) and hemp (.3% THC)
  • THC is what produces the high
  • CBD oil that is derived from hemp is legal in all 50 states
  • CBD oil that is derived from marijuana is not legal in every state
  • There’s new research being done on CBD oil so keep an eye out for it

As with every therapy you try to treat your Parkinson’s symptoms, be sure to consult with your doctor, movement disorder specialist, neurologist and everyone on your care team. Anecdotal evidence is great; however, not everything works the same for everyone. Do your due diligence and make sure all of your experimentation is under the direct and frequent supervision of your doctors.

Concepts Mentioned in this Podcast & Further Reading

The Neuroscience of Parkinson’s
Living with Parkinson’s: What is OFF?
MAO Inhibitors
Dopamine Agonists
What, When, Why, How & More of DBS for the Newly Diagnosed
Exercise is Medicine for the Brain
High-Intensity Exercise Helps Slow the Progression of Parkinson’s
Exercise Essentials Mini Course
Hemp Vs. Marijuana: The Difference Explained
Is CBD Legal? Legal Status of CBD in 50 States
Senior Citizens, Marijuana and Parkinson’s: What I’ve Learned
My First Trip to the Marijuana Dispensary as a Person with Parkinson’s
Can Marijuana Reduce Insomnia for People Living with Parkinson’s?


Trevor Hawkins MDDr. Trevor Hawkins is an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus.





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19 Comments on “New Research, Medications and CBD for Parkinson’s

    • James Benedict

      December 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm Reply

      Excellent review with cogent insight regarding state of the art of current medications including a discussion of newer drug therapies. I am looking forward to learning more about the potential with use of CBD oil. I have heard that there is current research regarding regarding a medication that has the potential to arrest the progression of PD and possibly even reverse it. If such research is currently on going it would make an interesting topic for future Podcasts.
      Well done! Thank you!

      • Melani Dizon

        December 10, 2018 at 8:56 am Reply

        Thanks for listening, James. There’s so much happening in the area of medical therapies to treat Parkinson’s right now. It’s an exciting time for sure.

    • Tommy

      February 8, 2019 at 4:18 pm Reply

      I have a uncle that suffers from severe Parkinson’s . He want try the CBD oil to see if it helps. Any word of encouragement.

      • Melani Dizon

        February 11, 2019 at 9:44 am Reply

        Thanks for reading, Tommy. We always encourage people to try treatments they are interested in; however, only under the careful watch and recommendation of their doctors. Every person is different and the only way to really know what is the best path for your uncle would be for him to discuss options with this care team.

    • ELEANOR Nay - Chiles

      February 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm Reply

      Very helpful blog,

    • monica wood

      March 17, 2019 at 2:16 pm Reply

      Comment Where do I purchase CBD ? Is it very expensive ? I have very strong tremors at night on my leg and left side .It’s strong enough to push me out of bed. This happened to my sister. She was sitting at her snack bar and the tremor was so strong it took her by surprise and she fell to the hardwood floor. Her hip was dislocated.
      My sister has Parkinsons too.

      • Melani Dizon

        March 18, 2019 at 8:48 am Reply

        Hi Monica – Thank you for reading. CBD on its own (without THC) can be purchased online and in many retail locations. If you are looking for CBD and THC together, it will depend on where you live. Some states allow for recreational use of marijuana, some only for medicinal purposes. The best place to start would be your doctor, preferably your movement disorder specialist, so you can talk to them about your concerns and potential strategies to improve your tremors as well as a variety of interventions to try.

    • johan cruyff

      March 28, 2019 at 2:28 am Reply

      Thanks for share good information regarding New Research, Medication and CBD Oil in Parkinson’s with DR. Trevor Hawkins.

    • Sharon Stone

      April 1, 2019 at 12:42 pm Reply

      There is no mention of Parkinson’s and pain. My BFF has severe back and hip pain. Think the that neurotransmitters that result issues in movement that we are observing are just one very obvious point on a spectrum of problems caused by deficit dopamine . He has a DBS. When my BFF lies down his pain subsides. So that makes it seem more like a structural problem. However, he has had 2 different fusions in his back. We need advice regarding Locating a movement disorder specialist his 3rd one quite and moved away. Any advice would be appreciated regarding providers in the Springs, his pain, and the effectiveness of CBD oil for his pain.

      • Melani Dizon

        April 2, 2019 at 6:09 am Reply

        Hi Sharon, Thank you for reading. I’m sorry your best friend is dealing with so much pain. When you say “the Springs”, are you referring to Colorado Springs? I think starting with a MDS is the best bet; so, I want to make sure I know where you live.

        • Mary Lou Lafko

          May 2, 2019 at 10:40 am

          I’m in Colorado Springs with PD for almost 20 years.
          Do you have any results from your trial yet? CBD is fine and if I thought it could provide help I’d try it in a heartbeat. I currently use Carbidopa Levodopa in 2 forms, er & dis, and 2 strengths. Mylan works for me. It’s getting very hard to find at any RX pharmacy. CBD could be great.

        • Melani Dizon

          May 2, 2019 at 5:49 pm

          Hi Mary Lou. Thanks for reading! You can stay up-to-date on clinical trials going on in Colorado here.

    • Penelope Sue Erickson

      April 14, 2019 at 8:26 am Reply

      How do I get in the trial at University of Colorado for CBD pill? I have Parkinson’s with dominant tremor in my right hand and arm. I want to continue teaching nursing, but my tremor is making this difficult. I live in Arizona and am willing to fly in to participate in study.

    • ira ramsey

      April 15, 2019 at 6:54 pm Reply

      Will mention CPD to my doctor as possible treatment for my Parkinsons.

    • John Dixon

      September 14, 2019 at 9:14 am Reply

      Levodopa is the most effective and most commonly used treatment for PD. This medication helps replenish the level of dopamine in the brain. Levodopa addresses many of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

    • Will

      October 8, 2019 at 10:43 am Reply

      I’m 38 years old and I have Parkinson’s. I live in middle Tennessee eye not heard from the lady that works in research at Vanderbilt that CBD does help if you use it at its highest potency for six straight weeks. I would love to see if there’s any test trials for this Parkinson’s patients because I I live in middle Tennessee and I talked to a lady that works in research at Vanderbilt that CBD does help if you use it at its highest potency for six straight weeks. I would love to see if there’s any test trials for this Parkinson’s patients because I would love to be a part of the testing group because CBD can be very expensive since it is not covered through insurance.

      • Melani Dizon

        October 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm Reply

        Hi there – In order to find out about studies related to this, go to clinicaltrials.gov and then search Parkinson’s and CBD. Right now there are approximately 23 studies that are recruiting participants. Unfortunately, there are none in Tennessee at the moment, but I would check back often as there is more and more research being done on CBD.

    • Amy Anderson

      January 21, 2020 at 5:07 am Reply

      Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. CBD oil is increasingly common when it comes to treating anxiety and getting healthy. With so many research to back up the emotional health of a person and the positive effects and benefits of CBD.

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