Research provides more and more evidence that hemp has many health benefits for the human body. The main advantage of the hemp plant is that it has a lower concentration of THC and other components that make cannabis exhibit some psychoactive effects. In place of THC, the hemp plant has more concentration of cannabinoids that are very helpful for the functioning of the body.
According to the World Health Organization3 Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60–70% of cases. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which is linked to cognitive decline and progressive neuronal loss. It is the most common form of dementia and often affects elderly people from 65 to 80 years old. This condition is caused by a couple of different factors including genetics.
Although the symptoms can vary and worsen slowly, the results are often the same. This includes cognitive impairment, long and short-term memory loss, speech difficulties, depression, aggressive behavior, and psychosis.
In later stages, full care from caregivers and family might be needed. While the traditional drugs given for Alzheimer’s disease could help to relieve the symptoms, these treatments cannot reverse the condition or slow down its progression.
Why Can CBD Work For Treating Alzheimer’s?
Like natural endocannabinoids in the human body, plant-sourced cannabinoids such as CBD can activate some receptors and help to lower the onset of those neurological conditions. For instance, clinical studies have proven that CBD can improve behavioral problems in Alzheimer’s disease issues such as appetite problems or deteriorating sleep patterns4.
What Are The Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a product derived from the hemp plant. Therefore, it’s safe to use and has fewer risks and side effects than drugs typically prescribed for Alzheimer’s. Although it comes from the hemp plant, CBD doesn’t create a “high” effect or any form of intoxication that’s caused by THC. Here are just a few more benefits of using CBD to treat Alzheimer’s disease:
Neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, typically result in the inflammation of the neural tissues, which happens as a defense mechanism in early stages. However, this symptom can develop into a chain of uncontrolled reactions. Thus, the use of CBD as an anti-inflammatory has been proved to help delay the progression of the condition5.
The releases of oxidative stress and reactive oxygen are basically linked to immune inflammation and key elements of Alzheimer’s. As a result, it lowers the antioxidant capability of your cells and leads to the production of free radicals, as well as reactions with fatty acids and proteins in cell membranes. When the amyloid beta is present, the reactive oxygen in your adjoining cells can be elevated through the exchange with the membranes, resulting in a loss of synapses and neurons. Thus, using CBD as an antioxidant could help to slow down the process and relieve many neurological symptoms6.
The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Alzheimer’s
The turning point in the development of Alzheimer’s disease is the emergence of senile plaques such as small fragments, which are the main cause of memory loss, neuronal cell deaths and behavioral changes in patients.
After a gradual breakdown of the memory process and inter-neuronal communication, they find it more difficult to perform simple tasks such as forming memories, recalling memories, and speaking.
In recent years, many doctors and scientists have explored the important role of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. They found out that CB1 receptor, one of the 2 main endocannabinoid receptors, is distributed widely in various areas such as the basal ganglia, hippocampus, cortex, and cerebellum. These regions are linked with memory and learning and can be affected in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s disease8.
How can I use CBD to treat Alzheimer’s?
CBD is available in different forms, and its application in treating Alzheimer’s disease is quickly growing. Here is a basic guide to using CBD for the treatment of this condition.
Many studies have shown that better results can be achieved when using both THC and CBD Concentrate. However, it is advisable to use THC in a lower quantity to avoid any of the psychoactive effects. Using THC may also be difficult as it is still illegal in many countries around the world. Full-Spectrum hemp oil would be an ideal option for those looking for relief from symptoms without any psychoactive effects. The easiest and most effective way to take CBD for Alzheimer’s patients is consuming it orally. Most people prefer using CBD oil under the tongue.
CBD Dosage For Alzheimer’s Disease
When it comes to optimal dosage, various factors must be taken into account. Some of these factors are personal circumstances, as well as the severity and stage of the disease.
It is important to be aware that every person is different, and therefore every person reacts differently to CBD. The recommended dosage can vary greatly from product to product, leading to confusion. The dosage also depends on the percentage of CBD oil used.
We recommend the Step-up method developed by Leinow & Birnbaum in their book “CBD: A patient’s guide to Medical Cannabis”9. In their book, they recommend to start with a microdose for Alzheimer’s. To find out more about the ideal dosage and all necessary information read our article on CBD dosing:
What Are Studies Saying About Using CBD For Alzheimer’s?
A notable small study conducted in 2016 has set the stage for the use of CBD in treating Alzheimer’s disease. A group of 10 patients was employed to measure the result of using CBD in 4 weeks. The study has shown a significant reduction in the NPI or neuropsychiatric inventory score from 44.3 to 12.910. This means a high decrease in aggression, agitation, delusion, apathy, and irritability. These results were so important that they eventually led to a more extensive clinical study.
In 2011, an American group of scientists has studied the impacts of CBD in treating Alzheimer’s disease in mice. The results indicated that CBD can be a promising treatment for therapeutic applications in Alzheimer’s. Also, it showed that CBD can promote the development or growth of neurons. Neurogenesis lowers the breakdown of cognitive functions11.
- Kogan, Natalya M., and Raphael Mechoulam. “Cannabinoids in health and disease.” Dialogues in clinical neuroscience 9.4 (2007): 413.
- Iuvone, T., Esposito, G., De Filippis, D., Scuderi, C. and Steardo, L. (2009). Cannabidiol: A Promising Drug for Neurodegenerative Disorders?. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 15(1), pp.65-75.
- Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (2018). CANNABIDIOL (CBD). [online] World Health Organization.
- Karl, Tim, Brett Garner, and David Cheng. „The therapeutic potential of the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol for Alzheimer’s disease.“ Behavioural pharmacology 28.2 (2017): 142-160
- Lodzki, M., et al. „Cannabidiol—transdermal delivery and anti-inflammatory effect in a murine model.“ Journal of controlled release 93.3 (2003): 377-387
- Hampson, Aidan John, et al. „Neuroprotective Antioxidants from Marijuana.“ Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.899.1 (2000): 274-282.
- Watt, Georgia, and Tim Karl. „In vivo evidence for therapeutic properties of cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s disease.“ Frontiers in pharmacology 8 (2017): 20.
- Pazos, M. R., et al. „Role of the endocannabinoid system in Alzheimer’s disease: new perspectives.“ Life sciences 75.16 (2004): 1907-1915
- Leinow, L. and Birnbaum, J. (2017). CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. North Atlantic Books.
- Kluger, Benzi, et al. “The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for movement disorders.” Movement disorders 30.3 (2015): 313-327.
- Watt, Georgia, and Tim Karl. “In vivo evidence for therapeutic properties of cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s disease.” Frontiers in pharmacology 8 (2017): 20.