CBD and Alzheimer’s Disease: Promising Results
Alzheimer’s isn’t something a lot of us like to consider. While we may test for our genetic likelihood of developing the disease through the latest DNA technologies, finding out it’s a possibility maybe more of a double-edged sword than we think. This dismal outlook is due to a lack of a cure.
Recently, however, CBD has begun to shine as a possible treatment for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Read on to learn more about the disease and the science behind CBD’s potential role.
In 2013, as many as 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Associated with many things such an increased likelihood of wandering off or becoming lost, memory loss, and the inability to care for one’s self, scientists have yet to understand what causes Alzheimer’s or what the cure is. Between 2010 and 2015, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s cases grew by 125%. In stark figures, Alzheimer’s is responsible for more deaths than breast cancer and prostate cancer, combined. (1)
However, there may be hope for those who are currently impaired by the disease. CBD oil, a natural substance, has been shown to provide relief and reduce the impact Alzheimer’s has on the individual. It may be especially helpful in treating the most common type of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia.
Dementia is a progressive disease that impacts thought, memory, and language. Often beginning with mild memory loss, it can progress to the inability to carry a conversation. Plaque build-up and inflammation are two characteristics of the disease; however, they’re only identified postmortem.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
A few facts before diving in: (2)
- The symptoms of the disease can first appear after age 60 and the risk increases with age.
- Younger people may get Alzheimer’s disease, but it is less common.
- By 2050, this number is projected to rise to 14 million people, a nearly three-fold increase.
While much is known about Alzheimer’s, there is still much for us to learn. Family history and health risks like high blood pressure and high cholesterol may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Some studies are examining if and how CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties can help those who suffer from Alzheimer’s, regardless of the factors that contribute to it. Today, CBD seems to be a natural treatment alternative worth considering.
How Do I Know It’s Alzheimer’s Disease?
In addition to memory problems, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may experience one or more of the following:
such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions.
Trouble handling money and paying bills.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.
and being unable to retrace steps to find them.
Changes in mood, personality, or behavior.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these changes, it is best to consult a healthcare provider. However, being knowledgeable on the various forms of support can also help you make an informed decision.
So, how can CBD Help?
CBD targets the endocannabinoid system, a part of our brain that has both CB1 and CB2 receptors. When used, CBD interacts with these receptors, decreasing pain and over-activity. (4)
Using CBD presents a multi-faceted approach to treating Alzheimer’s. It protects brain cells from the harmful effects of amyloid-beta, reduces inflammation, and supports the brain’s repair process by enhancing neurogenesis. Additionally, it has been shown to reduce agitation and aggression and improve communication in those diagnosed with dementia. (5)
A 2015 study found that cannabinoid blockages or deficiencies could be causing early deficits in Alzheimer’s, suggesting that supplementing with cannabinoids found in cannabis could reduce the risk of developing the disease. (6)
CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory compound. Neurodegenerative diseases involve inflammation of neural tissue so, naturally, CBD could help to slow the development of Alzheimer’s. (7)
As one article explains:
“…studies show that CBD has the ability to reduce reactive gliosis and the neuroinflammatory response, which has been linked to a significant portion of the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s and the disease’s progression. Findings also indicate that CBD promotes neurogenesis, or the growth and development of neurons, to in turn reduce the deterioration of cognitive functions.”
Medical Marijuana Inc. (8)
Because Alzheimer’s is tied to inflammation, it reduces neuron activity and impairs synapses in the brain. CBD oil, on the other hand, has been shown to have antioxidant properties and is loaded with Omegas 3 and 6 – two fatty acids that are key to optimal brain health. Taking it one step further, cannabinoids can regulate inflammation and promote neurogenesis in the brain, perhaps reducing these negative effects. (9)
Gary Wenk, a professor of neuroscience at Ohio State, and his team surveyed dementia-free seniors and their lifestyles and discovered that “individuals who smoked marijuana in the ‘60s and ‘70s, who are now entering their 60s and 70s, are not getting Alzheimer’s at the rate they should be.”
What are the side effects?
Anything we put in our body has the potential for side effects. Thankfully, most people are able to tolerate CBD oil due to its natural properties. However, using CBD oil with other medications may change the effectiveness of the medication, or cause fatigue and changes in appetite. And if the CBD oil is smoked, there’s a risk for lung problems. Beyond that, side effects are minimal in comparison to the side effects from other types of treatment.
The benefits of CBD are numerous and powerful. Thousands of people use it daily to manage pain, control diseases, and ailments and improve their quality of life. Will you be one of them?