‘I’m on for it!’ Jeremy Paxman, 72, declares he’ll try Cannabis in a bid to fight Parkinson’s – as Sharon Osbourne jokes she’ll sneak it ‘through customs’

  • The broadcaster, 72, stars in a new ITV documentary where he meets Sharon, whose husband Ozzy also suffers from the neurological condition
  • She discusses how the Black Sabbath star, also 73, uses cannabidiol, known as CBD, because, like Jeremy, he experiences unsettling dreams as a result
  • The former Newsnight presenter jumps at the opportunity, declaring that he’s ‘on for it’, with Sharon insisting he must try physiotherapy to get his ‘a**e in gear’ 

Jeremy Paxman has declared he’s prepared to try Cannabis in a bid to fight his Parkinson’s disease, after being diagnosed last year.

The broadcaster, 72, stars in a new ITV documentary, Paxman: Putting Up with Parkinson’s, where he meets Sharon Osbourne, whose husband Ozzy also suffers from the neurological condition.

She discusses how the Black Sabbath star, also 73, uses cannabidiol, known as CBD, because, like Jeremy, he experiences unsettling dreams as a result of Parkinson’s, before joking that she will sneak the substance through customs from the U.S.

‘I’m on for it!’ Jeremy Paxman has declared he’ll try Cannabis in bid to fight his Parkinson’s – with Sharon Osbourne joking she’ll sneak the substance ‘through customs’ for him

According to The Sun, she tells Jeremy: ‘[Ozzy] was always on something, he always loved to dabble with the old drugs.’

‘But now he takes this stuff at night. What’s this stuff that everybody smokes? Marijuana. It is something from that — Cannabidiol.

‘I’ll bring some over for you, you’ll love it. I’ll bring it back for you, Jeremy. I’ll probably get arrested coming through customs — but that’s nothing new.’

The former Newsnight presenter jumps at the opportunity, declaring that he’s ‘on for it’, with Sharon insisting he must try physiotherapy to get his ‘a**e in gear’.

Helping hand: The broadcaster, 72, stars in a new ITV documentary where he meets Sharon Osbourne (pictured in September 2022), whose husband Ozzy also suffers from the condition

Jeremy announced last May that he had been diagnosed with the degenerative condition.

But the University Challenge host then said remembering that many of his predecessors were dead by his age makes him feel as though he has been ‘let off’ by getting the illness.

Parkinson’s, which affects one in 500 people, causes the brain to become damaged over the years.

As a result, the former Newsnight host has since reflected on how he has been putting his conservative ‘wet Tory’ politics down to going ‘gaga’ for years.

Writing in Saga magazine, he said: ‘When I was an irritating young gob on a stick, I used to argue that conservatism was brought about by loss of brain cells.

Well-known: Paxman presented the BBC’s current affairs programme, Newsnight, from 1989 to 2014, during which time he gained a reputation as a ferocious interviewer

‘For years now I have happily stood up at public events and declared that the reason I nowadays confess to being a wet Tory is entirely the consequence of going gaga.

‘The moment when you can’t recall your bank-card pin is the reminder that everything comes at a price.

Local radio to leading Newsnight: Jeremy Paxman’s career

  • 1972: BBC Radio Brighton
  • 1977: At BBC in London
  • 1979: Panorama
  • 1984: Six O’Clock News
  • 1986: BBC1’s Breakfast Time
  • 1989: Newsnight presenter
  • 1994: University Challenge 

‘I have been annoyed enough by Microsoft while putting down these paltry thoughts that I confess to pining for the days of typewriters when mistakes were mechanical rather than existential.

’”Why do you persist in doing this to me?” is my repeated cry. The screen always remains annoyingly indifferent. (How marvellous it would be, just once, if it replied by asking what I really wanted it to do.)

‘But then I recall that by my age, most of my ancestors – a long line of illiterate peasants on both sides were dead. I’ve been let off lightly with Parkinson’s.’

Jeremy has previously said that his symptoms are ‘mild.’  

He said back in May: ‘I can confirm I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I am receiving excellent treatment and my symptoms are currently mild.

‘I plan to continue broadcasting and writing for as long as they’ll have me and have written about my diagnosis in more detail for the June issue of the marvellous Saga Magazine. I will not be making any further comment.’

The presenter was seen out in Manchester last year using a walking stick after breaking his ribs in a horrifying fall during a dog walk.

Born in Leeds, he started his career in 1972 on the BBC’s graduate trainee programme, working in local radio and reporting on the Troubles in Belfast.

Couple: She discusses how the Black Sabbath star, also 73, uses cannabidiol, known as CBD, because, like Jeremy, he experiences unsettling dreams as a result (pictured in 2020)

Shortly after moving to London in 1977, he transferred from Tonight to Panorama, before stints on the Six O’Clock News and BBC One’s Breakfast Time.

He became a presenter of Newsnight in 1989, a position he would hold until June 2014 during which time he interviewed high-profile figures from politics and culture.

After 25 years in the job, Jeremy presented a programme including an interview with then London mayor Boris Johnson, while they both rode a tandem bicycle.

Jeremy has also presented University Challenge since 1994, making him the longest serving current quizmaster on UK TV.

Last month the presenter looked frail as he used a walking stick in Manchester – just weeks after breaking his ribs in a horrifying fall during a dog walk.

He leaned on the walking aid as he was escorted into the TV studios by a co-worker – after revealing he has suffered a nasty tumble when his dog Derek got startled by a squirrel and pulled on his lead.

He held on to a detective novel, The Searcher, by Tana French as he headed to work at University Challenge.

Paxman: Putting Up with Parkinson’s airs on ITV at 9pm on Tuesday. 


Broadcaster Jeremy Paxman has revealed he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but what are the causes and symptoms, and how is it treated?   

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects parts of the brain.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS says there are three major symptoms, including tremors or shaking, slowness of movement and muscle stiffness.

Other symptoms include problems with balance, loss of smell, nerve pain, excessive sweating and dizziness.

Some people can also experience lack of sleep, excessive production of saliva and problems swallowing, causing malnutrition and dehydration.

What are the early signs? 

 Symptoms start gradually, sometimes beginning with a barely noticeable tremor in just one part of the body.

In the early stages, people may show little or no expression, and their arms may not swing when they walk.

Speech can also become soft or slurred, with the condition worsening over time.

What are the causes?

Scientists believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors are the cause of Parkinson’s disease.

It occurs after a person experiences loss of nerve cells in a part of their brain.

However, it is not known why the loss of nerve cells associated with the condition takes place.

Scientists say genetics cause about 10 to 15% of Parkinson’s, and can therefore run in families.

Other factors attributed to causing the condition include environmental problems such as pollution, though such links are inconclusive, the NHS says.

How is it diagnosed?

No tests can conclusively show if a person has the disease, but doctors can make a diagnosis based on symptoms, medical history and a physical examination.

A specialist will ask the person to write or draw, walk or speak to check for any common signs of the condition.

They may even check for difficulty making facial expressions and slowness of limb movement.

How many people are affected?

Around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s disease in the UK.

What happens if someone is diagnosed?

According to Parkinson’s UK, it is a legal requirement to contact the DVLA, as a diagnosed person will need to have a medical or driving assessment.

The organisation also advises people to contact any insurance providers and find out about financial support available.

People are also encouraged to partake in more exercise.

Can it be treated?

Although there is no cure, a number of treatments are available to help reduce the symptoms.

The three main remedies include medication, exercise and therapy, which can help people in different ways. 

What medication is available and what are the side effects?

Medication can be helpful in improving the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as shaking and movement problems.

There are three main types which are commonly used, levodopa, dopamine agonist or a MAO-B inhibitor.

Each can affect people in different ways.

The drugs do have some side effects, including impulsive and compulsive behaviour, hallucinations, sleep issues and blood pressure changes.

What therapy is available?

There are several therapies available to those with Parkinson’s through the NHS.

Among them are physiotherapy to reduce muscle stiffness, occupational therapy to help with completing day-to-day tasks and speech and language coaching.

Does this change the way you live?

Most people’s life expectancy will not change a great deal, though more advanced symptoms can lead to increased disability and poor health.

It can also cause some cognitive issues and changes to mood and mental health.

Those with Parkinson’s are encouraged to exercise more often, with scientists saying 2.5 hours of exercise a week is enough to slow the progression of symptoms.

Parkinson’s affects one in 500 people and causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.

There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.  

The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016.

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