Can patients with Parkinson’s disease benefit from CBD or medical cannabis? The research says yes! Get a better night’s sleep with Parkinson’s Disease. 

Parkinson’s | CBD and Cannabis Info

Although there isn’t much research surrounding the use of CBD and cannabis in regards to Parkinson’s Disease, one particular study caught my eye. In the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics in 2014, a case report reviewed sleep disorders of six patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder young beautiful woman sleeping and smiles in his sleep in bed who is getting a good nights sleep because of CBD

One particular patient caught my eye, a 61-year-old-man with a history of Parkinson’s. His symptoms began with sleep agitation and two years later he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This specific sleep disorder is often characteristic of Parkinson’s and is referred to as REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, or RBD. During nightmares, patients often experience violent reactions such as punching, kicking and yelling.

Patient 1

This fellow was talking, swearing, yelling, kicking and punching in his sleep. He even injured his wife during one of his nightmare rages. These specific episodes occurred once a month and often related to work, conflict, animal attacks and fighting. Most recently, his wife reported the dreams had increased in frequency to four times per week lasting as long as 2 minutes.

CBD was administered for six weeks to the patient as well as others in the study. All five of the patients who received the treatment saw full reversal of their REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.


CB1 receptors in the brain are thought to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Anandamide stimulates these CB1 receptors during sleep, increasing the length of slow wave and REM sleep. With the addition of CBD and THC, the body reacts in the same way, creating a deeper more nourishing sleep pattern. Through the addition of CBD, patients can finally get a good night’s sleep!

Current Treatments

Current prescription medications such as Clonazepam create a sedation effect lasting long into the daytime. This can increase the risk of falls and motor vehicle accidents especially in the elderly. Making CBD a great and safe alternative to those prone to accidents.


The administration of CBD has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of Parkinson’s related sleep disturbances. Thanks to CBD, Parkinson’s patients can finally get a good nights sleep!



Parkinson’s | CBD and Cannabis Info

Mary Clifton, MD


Can patients with Parkinson’s disease benefit from CBD or medical cannabis? We think so, at least as it relates to sleep and movement, and I found one really interesting case report to share with you surrounding that.


Published in February 2014 in The Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, a case report of six patients reviewed sleep disorder associated with Parkinson’s disease. A lot of diseases have associated sleep disorders where people may have lighter sleep, they talk in their sleep or walk in their sleep, but this particular parasomnia associated with Parkinson’s is referred to as REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, or RBD, and this is actually an active behavior during a nightmare where people experience punching or kicking or yelling; very active behaviors during nightmares.


This particular case series studied six patients but there was one patient in particular that caught my eye. A 61-year-old man with a history of Parkinson’s disease for 18 years with agitation in his sleep that actually preceded the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease for two years. It turns out that having this particular sleep disorder is pretty closely tied to the development of Parkinson’s and it often precedes the onset of the Parkinson’s by a couple of years.


This fellow was talking, swearing, yelling, pushing, kicking, punching; in fact, he injured his wife during one dream. He reported the episodes occurring once per month with dream content of work, conflict, animal attacks, fighting; very disturbing dreams. But, his wife reported that the dreams were occurring up to four times per week and lasting two minutes per episode. The patient was treated with six weeks of CBD and just like the other five patients in the trial, had no further episodes of his disordered sleep and active nightmares.


It’s thought that the CB1 receptors that are located throughout the brain that regulate the sleep/wake cycle are stimulated by the CBD. Anandamide stimulates the CB1 receptors during sleep and increases the duration of slow wave and REM sleep and reduces wakefulness. So the addition of CBD or THC probably functions the same way, decreasing the slow wave and REM sleep and reducing wakefulness and helping patients with this particular sleep disorder get a great night’s sleep.


Now, right now we can treat this. We use Clonazepam which is a benzodiazepine. It creates some sedation and helps to reduce the intensity of the symptoms, but it also causes considerable sedation that sort of hangs over into the daytime and patients taking chronic benzodiazepine, especially in the elderly, are at increased risk for falls and for motor vehicle accidents.


So, we think that the administration of CBD or CBD combined with THC in cannabis is going to be beneficial by increasing the duration of slow wave and REM sleep and reducing wakefulness, and helping a patient who has active nightmares finally have a good sound sleep, and helping the partner sleep too.