- Medical studies published in the world’s top medical journals have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) can be used to reduce the effects of cognitive decline caused by conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Extensive human trials are still needed to determine how effective CBD is at managing some of these conditions, however, experts are encouraging people to use cannabidiol – a hemp extract – to control the anxiety that often accompanies Alzheimer’s.
- This article looks at the links between CBD and Alzheimer’s disease, and attempts to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding safety, effectiveness, and reliability in the long term.
Can CBD Treat Dementia & Its Symptoms
One aspect of Alzheimer’s disease is a gradual buildup of amyloid in the brain, which is a type of protein that causes clumps to form in the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and other essential processes. Some researchers believe that cannabinoids present in hemp and cannabis (such as THC) may be used to break down this chemical, and therefore protect brain cells from being damaged.
Studies involving mice have also suggested that cannabinoids such as CBD may have this same effect, however, human studies have yet to be performed due to federal laws. In one study, a researcher gave CBD oil to mice to study the effects it has on the brain. Early results revealed that cannabidiol reduced inflammation in parts of the brain; however, this has not been proven (or discounted) in subsequent studies.
It should be noted that in many cases, dementia is symptomatic of other underlying medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. These diseases do not yet have a cure, and they tend to be progressive. The use of cannabidiol by patients with Alzheimer’s is usually an attempt to manage some of the side effects that come with the disease.
Even though health journals warn that more research is needed on CBD, there have not been any noteworthy studies that question the safety of CBD, or indeed, its value as a natural remedy. Animal studies have shown considerable improvement in cases involving pain, inflammation, anxiety, and even the decay of brain cells. For individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is possible that a daily dose of CBD oil may have a positive effect in their daily life, with a low risk of side effects.
How Does It Work?
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp products. It is commonly extracted from a particular hemp plant, which contains higher amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC than your average cannabis. CBD is known for its calming effects, its ability to reduce nausea, pain, inflammation, and a number of other processes which make it a mild and useful compound. CBD does not cause any “high”, and in fact, it can be used to fight off the effects of other drugs like alcohol and opium. But is there evidence that CBD is medicine?
The hype surrounding cannabidiol centers mainly on its pain-relieving properties, and its use in anxiety. There is overwhelming evidence that CBD reduces stress hormones and causes the release of feel-good hormones such as anandamide and melatonin. This is great for when you want to relax or fall asleep; however, it does not show conclusively how CBD can treat cognitive diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
In lab studies high concentrations of CBD have shown positive results when scientists attempt to enhance activity in parts of the brain that are affected by dementia and similar illnesses, however, there is also some evidence showing that long term use of cannabis can have a negative effect in the brain, particularly with regard to memory. There is also some variation in the types of cannabis strains used in these studies, meaning that users may not always know which products to use, and if they work for them.
In a 2017 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, researchers tested the use of CBD in treating Alzheimer’s disease, and found that there was a ‘proof of principle’ that cannabidiol can be used to manage some of the side effects of Alzheimer’s; however, combinations of CBD and THC were found to have stronger effects, also noted as The Entourage Effect.
Tremors are a common symptom associated with Parkinson’s disease, and CBD’s neuroprotective property, which include reducing the severity of seizures for people with epilepsy, is thought to reduce the severity of tremors in some patients.
CBD Benefits For
- Alzheimer’s Disease: May reduce brain inflammation and help reduce cell death for patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s. CBD can also boost mobility and energy levels for patients with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
- Parkinson’s Disease: As mentioned, CBD may reduce tremors, as well as pain, and this can improve quality of life for patients.
- Huntington’s Disease: Patients with mood swings may find relief with CBD, because of its ability to regulate hormonal function, including balancing the endocrine system, which improves mood and reduces pain and inflammation.
- Vascular Dementia: CBD may encourage blood flow to the brain, which improves memory and reasoning for people with vascular dementia.
- Frontal Temporal Dementia: CBD’s impact on brain cells, especially in the hippocampus, may help reduce the symptoms of dementia. Cellular regeneration is a known effect of cannabidiol and may serve to slow down the disease and improve cognitive function.
Medical trials often involve high amounts of cannabidiol extract, however, for normal use, medical experts recommend following instructions in the product packaging. Keep in mind that different strains of CBD oil will have different concentrations of cannabidiol, therefore, dosage should be determined based on these factors. Other important factors include age, gender, weight, and pre-existing medical conditions. Speak to your doctor about using CBD oil for Alzheimer’s or other conditions and determine if any drug interaction will occur when taking other medication.
Risks and Side Effects
CBD poses no major risks when used normally but speak to your doctor first. Common side effects are:
- Changes in appetite
- Mood changes
- Stomach upsets
Stop using the compound if you experience serious symptoms and contact your medical professional for guidance.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into how cannabis can benefit people with dementia. It’s not just about getting high; there are many health benefits that cannabis can provide, including anti-inflammatory properties and dopamine replacements. If you or anyone you know is suffering from dementia, please consider trying out some of these tips and treatments!
If you are looking to receive professional advice from cannabis-friendly medical professionals, look no further than our expertise here at United Patients Group. We are the leading source for patient information on medical marijuana featuring medical insights, reliable recommendations from industry experts, and lab-tested product reviews. Contact us today to book your first appointment with us.
You may be pleasantly surprised on all the benefits this plant has to offer.