Does Cannabis Interact With Carbidopa/Levodopa?

In our latest question, our pharmacist discusses if cannabis interacts with the medication carbidopa/levodopa.
Does Cannabis Interact With Carbidopa/Levodopa?

BMurph Asked

Does cannabis interact with carbidopa/levodopa?


Research on cannabis-carbidopa/levodopa interactions is still in its early stages, with no definitive conclusions about benefits or risks.
Combining cannabis with carbidopa/levodopa may increase dizziness, drowsiness, and cognitive impairment, especially in older adults.
Be sure to inform your healthcare providers when considering cannabis as a potential complementary therapy for Parkinson's.


Hi and thanks for the question!

Living with Parkinson's disease can be a daily challenge, riddled with tremors, rigidity, and difficulty moving. Carbidopa/levodopa, the gold standard medication for Parkinson's, offers relief, but its long-term use comes with side effects. Could cannabis, with its growing popularity for symptom management, offer an alternative or complementary approach? While the answer isn't a simple yes or no, exploring this interaction is crucial for patients seeking a holistic approach to managing their condition.

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that disrupts the brain's dopamine production, a crucial neurotransmitter for movement and coordination. This deficiency leads to tremors, rigidity, and difficulty with balance and gait. Carbidopa/levodopa, a medication that replenishes dopamine, is the mainstay treatment for Parkinson's. While effective, its long-term use can cause side effects like dyskinesia (involuntary movements) and nausea.

Cannabis, a plant containing psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds, has garnered increasing interest for its potential therapeutic properties. Studies suggest that cannabis and its cannabinoids, particularly cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may offer relief for various conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

Does cannabis interact with carbidopa/levodopa?

The interaction between cannabis and carbidopa/levodopa remains largely unresearched. While some anecdotal reports suggest cannabis may improve motor control and reduce tremors in Parkinson's patients, the evidence is limited and inconclusive.

A few small studies have shown no significant benefit, while others have raised concerns about potential side effects like increased dizziness and drowsiness, especially when cannabis with high THC content is used.

Given the limited and conflicting evidence, a cautious and individualized approach is paramount for Parkinson's patients considering cannabis. Open communication with your doctor is crucial. Discuss your symptoms, current medications, and any potential interactions with cannabis. Remember, self-medicating without professional guidance can be dangerous.

While the psychoactive effects of THC may be undesirable for some, CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, holds promise for its potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest CBD may improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and alleviate tremors in Parkinson's patients. Further research is needed to confirm these benefits and determine optimal dosages for symptom management.

Ongoing research on cannabis and Parkinson's disease is actively exploring the potential of cannabinoids like CBD and THC in managing various symptoms. Clinical trials investigating their efficacy are underway, aiming to provide more concrete evidence and pave the way for informed clinical recommendations.


The interaction between cannabis and carbidopa/levodopa in Parkinson's disease is yet to be fully understood. While conclusive evidence is lacking, the potential for benefit alongside the risk of side effects necessitates a cautious and personalized approach.

Be sure to communicate openly with your healthcare providers as it is always best to responsibly explore cannabis-related options. 

  1. Pros and Cons of Marijuana in Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease Pros and Cons of Marijuana in Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.
  2. Cannabis (marijuana) and Parkinson’s Cannabis (marijuana) and Parkinson’s.

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