In 1906, Aloïs Alzheimer described a neurological disorder that is now referred to as Alzheimer’s disease. The disorder causes memory deficits and according to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, accounts for 60 to 80 percent of patients with dementia. Symptoms can develop slowly or drastically depending on the case, and affect daily functioning.
While most associate this disease with the elderly, nearly 200,000 adults under the age of 65 are diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in the US. While it has no definitive cure, treatments are available for the various symptoms from medications to holistic remedies. Rising in popularity for the holistic treatment of Alzheimer’s is cannabidiol or CBD.
Alzheimer’s is often used interchangeably with dementia, but they are not one and the same. Dementia is not a disease, but a syndrome. It is often used as a general, umbrella term for a group of symptoms that cause a decline in reasoning, memory, and communication skills. Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, or Parkinson’s can cause dementia along with stroke, infections, or vascular diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for the majority of dementia patients. It’s a progressive disease that causes a slow decline in cognitive function and memory retention. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impaired judgment, difficulty with memory retention, behavioral changes, disorientation, and general confusion. In extreme cases, or in the advanced stages of the diseases, patients will also experience difficulty with daily functions such as speaking, walking, and self-care.
What Is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a naturally-derived compound found in the cannabis plant. Many confuse cannabidiol with tetrahydrocannabinol, which causes a “high” sensation, but is vastly different. Unlike its counterpart, CBD oil does not have hallucinogenic properties and will not cause any feeling of being “high”. The oil comes in several forms from edible CBD to capsules, tinctures, and topical creams.
The human body contains a system known as the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, sleep, and memory. When the ECS is stimulated by the use of CBD, these functions of the body are elevated in those with deficiencies. CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in this system and are found in the central and peripheral nervous systems respectfully. When CBD targets these receptors, it can aid in alleviating pain, act as an anti-inflammatory, and assist the ECS in creating homeostasis within the body.
CBD for Alzheimer’s
For many Alzheimer’s patients, inflammation increases cognitive impairments. When oxygen is released in the brain as a result of inflammation, it has direct negative and reactive effects. Recent studies have shown that CBD can reduce or remove inflammation, slow the decline of brain cells, and reduce oxygen buildup in the brain. The antioxidant properties of CBD can be used to decrease these symptoms of oxygen stress and inflammation. Clinical trials have been conducted on this link and show the ability of CBD to both prevent and reverse the impact of Alzheimer’s on brain cells. CBD can also aid in restorative sleep, anxiety relief, and symptoms of depression.
There are countless options when it comes to the intake of CBD. CBD can be taken in the form of tablets, capsules, edibles, and more. For patients with difficulty swallowing these options, it can also be taken as a patch, sublingual drops, or topical cream. Before starting a regimen of CBD, it’s important to seek the opinion of a medical professional. Locally-sourced, medical cannabis is held to higher standards of testing for both contaminants and potency, making it the optimal choice.
While it is not legalized on a Federal level, there are over 30 states with legalized medical-based CBD to attain. Important information such as dosage and regularity should be decided upon and regulated by a professional in order to have the most impact and steady effects on Alzheimer’s disease.