What Do Studies Say About Cannabis and Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder which causes memory loss and cognitive decline. Alzheimer's, a neurodegenerative type of dymentia, starts mild and gets progressively worse.
It is estimated that roughly 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's, with a vast majority (5.2 million) of those sufferers being over the age of 65.
There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer's disease. However, cannabis research has shown that cannabis can be a promising preventative and treatment option to combat Alzheimer's. Below are some examples.
Cannabis can help prevent/slow down Alzheimer's
A study from 2005 looked at the role that cannabinoids play in 'prevention of Alzheimer's disease pathology.' That study concluded, "that cannabinoid receptors are important in the pathology of AD and that cannabinoids succeed in preventing the neurodegenerative process occurring in the disease."
Another study, this time from 2010, specifically looked at the cannabinoid cannabidiol, and how it affected tasks performed by lab rats that carried Alzheimer's molecules. The group that was given cannabidiol performed tasks twice as fast as the group that had not been given cannabidiol.
Cannabis may remove toxic protein associated with Alzheimer's
A very recent study (June 2016) found that THC may possibly remove plaque forming Alzheimer's proteins from brain cells. Amyloid beta is a toxic protein associated with the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” Salk Professor David Schubert stated in the paper containing the study's results.
Cannabis may help with other ailments associated with Alzheimer's
Those that suffer from Alzheimer's also likely suffer from other ailments. 'Nighttime agitation' is common in patients that suffer from Alzheimer's. A study from 2006 looked at whether or not the cannabinoid dronabinol could help.
The study concluded, "that dronabinol was able to reduce nocturnal motor activity and agitation in severely demented patients. Thus, it appears that dronabinol may be a safe new treatment option for behavioral and circadian disturbances in dementia.
Another issue that Alzheimer's suffers deal with is the loss of appetite. It has long been known that cannabis can help increase a person's appetite, but what does science say about those specifically dealing with the issue as a result of battling Alzheimer's disease?
A study released in 2003 looked at dronabinol and appetite, and concluded, ""Our research suggests dronabinol may reduce agitation and improve appetite in patients with Alzheimer's disease, when traditional therapies are not successful.
The topic of cannabis and Alzheimer's is complex. Anyone who has had to watch a loved one battle Alzheimer's will be quick to tell you that it's a horrific thing. I have seen it occur in my own family, and it makes my heart heavy just thinking about it.
Do you know someone that suffers from Alzheimer's? Have you talked with them and/or their loved ones about exploring cannabis as a treatment? Numerous studies show that cannabis can be an effective form of treatment.
I am by no means a doctor, and healthcare decisions are a big deal. If you would like to learn more about cannabis and Alzheimer's, Green Flower Media is offering a new course specifically about that topic, hosted by a very reputable doctor. You can find out more about the course at this link here.
I urge you to share the course, and this article, with anyone that you think would benefit from the information.
Would you recommend cannabis to someone you know that suffers from Alzheimer's?