Can CBD Treat Some Alzheimer’s Symptoms?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained popularity as a treatment for many ailments, from typical aches and pains to seizures. Now, some initial studies suggest that CBD may show promise in the treatment of dementia symptoms.

There is currently no scientific evidence that CBD products can assist in curing or preventing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. However, preliminary research suggests CBD may help with some of the symptoms. Although there is no known treatment for dementia or Alzheimer’s, these encouraging studies pave the way for new therapies to comfort those with memory loss and other symptoms.

What is CBD?

The Cannabis sativa (C. Sativa) plant contains more than 100 distinct phytocannabinoids, and CBD is one of the active compounds. Its purported effects on inflammation, sleep, and mood could explain its rising prominence.

The psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is not always present in CBD. Contrary to THC, CBD does not make a person “high” and offers the same medical benefits as marijuana, including pain relief, better sleep, and a calming effect. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CBD products may have a maximum (dry weight) THC content of 0.3%.

Following are the main types of CBD:

  • Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the plant’s constituents, including THC.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD contains almost all of the plant’s constituents, including trace amounts of THC, although occasionally, there is none.
  • CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD with no other compounds or THC.

While CBD oil impacts brain function, it does so differently than THC. According to researchers, CBD interacts with receptor systems and works directly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors are mainly present in the peripheral and central nervous systems.

What research suggests about CBD and Alzheimer’s?

Although there is not a lot of research on the connection between CBD oil and Alzheimer’s, the findings from what we have so far are encouraging. There is no evidence to support CBD’s ability to halt, slow down, reverse, or prevent illnesses that lead to dementia. It, however, may help regulate some behavioral problems, such as aggression and agitation.

A few studies have revealed that using cannabinoids reduced the signs of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). However, because of the small sample sizes, study methods, and brief trial duration of these investigations, it was challenging to validate the effectiveness of these compounds on BPSD.

According to a 2019 study, CBD’s active ingredients may help cure and prevent Alzheimer’s disease by reducing some of its symptoms, including memory loss and behavioral problems. Additionally, combining CBD and THC would be more advantageous than doing it separately.

A recent study suggests that high doses of CBD given to people with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease may raise the levels of some proteins essential for clearing plaque from the brain.

Since there is a lack of available data, more human trials are required to determine whether CBD can aid in treating Alzheimer’s.

What Alzheimer’s psychological and physical symptoms can CBD help treat?

Behavioral changes due to Alzheimer’s include aggression, sleep disturbances, lost inhibitions, and social withdrawal. CBD may help reduce typical symptoms and treat psychological problems like insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

While CBD might aid with some symptoms, it may not help treat the effects that develop as the disease advances.

What are the side effects of CBD?

Although generally regarded as safe and seems to be tolerated by most people, studies have noted the following side-effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Drowsiness and Fatigue

CBD can also interact with other medicines you might be taking. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking it.

How to choose CBD dosage?

Several factors influence the amount of CBD you should take, such as your body weight, individual body chemistry, CBD concentration, and other medications you are on. Before experimenting with the dosage on your own, it’s crucial to consult your doctor, who will recommend an adequate dosage. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD, it’s critical to follow your doctor’s recommendations.

References

1. Hartmann, A., Lisboa, S.F., Sonego, A.B., Coutinho, D., Gomes, F.V. and Guimaraes, F.S., 2019. Cannabidiol attenuates aggressive behavior induced by social isolation in mice: Involvement of 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 94, p.109637. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31054943/

2. Effects of THC-Free CBD Oil on Agitation in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04436081

3. Kim, S.H., Yang, J.W., Kim, K.H., Kim, J.U. and Yook, T.H., 2019. A Review on Studies of Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease–Focusing on CBD, THC. Journal of pharmacopuncture, 22(4), p.225. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6970569/

4. Khodadadi, H., Salles, É.L., Jarrahi, A., Costigliola, V., Khan, M.B., Yu, J.C., Morgan, J.C., Hess, D.C., Vaibhav, K., Dhandapani, K.M. and Baban, B., 2021. Cannabidiol ameliorates cognitive function via regulation of IL-33 and TREM2 upregulation in a murine model of Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 80(3), pp.973-977. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33612548/

5. MacCallum, C.A. and Russo, E.B., 2018. Practical considerations in medical cannabis administration and dosing. European journal of internal medicine, 49, pp.12-19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29307505/

6. Iffland, K. and Grotenhermen, F., 2017. An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), pp.139-154. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/

Care Options for Elderly Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s

People with Alzheimer’s will require more care as they go through the stages of the disease. One explanation is that medications used to treat the disease can not cure the condition; instead, they can only manage its symptoms. Over time, symptoms like confusion and memory loss will worsen.

Many people with Alzheimer’s or other kinds of dementia want to spend as much time as possible at home. Being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s can provide the unique challenge of juggling multiple responsibilities, including being a parent, partner, and employee.

Some caregivers need assistance when the person is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, while others require help when the person is in the later stages of the disease. It is okay to ask for assistance whenever you need it. There are numerous ways to receive help with caring for a dementia patient if the moment ever comes when you require more assistance.

1. Home Health Care Services

Home health care refers to medical help and care given inside a patient’s residence. Home health care aides are certified medical personnel who visit your home to assist you in recovering from an illness, injury, or hospital stay. Aides offer medical treatments coordinated by your doctor, and you require your doctor’s order for these services.

  • Home health care services include:
  • Nursing Care
  • Medication administration and management
  • Assistance with getting dressed, bathing, grooming, eating, and bedtime preparation
  • Wound Care
  • Physical, occupational, or speech therapy
  • Monitoring for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety

Home care services usually charge hourly. For overnight stays, certain services have a set payment. Medicare may reimburse some expenses but does not generally cover nonmedical care.

2. Home Helpers and Companions

You can also obtain several additional in-home services if you need more help. They include hiring companions who can visit to aid with boredom management and lessen the likelihood of wandering, as well as assistance with housework and grocery shopping. Contrary to the home health services previously discussed, which provide medical treatment, these services are occasionally known as home care services.

3. Meal Delivery Services

Numerous communities offer meal services if planning meals or keeping a regular eating schedule becomes too challenging. They will deliver a ready-made nutritious meal to your house and help maintain the strength and health of the person. The staff, however, do not feed the person.

According to regional standards, the individual with Alzheimer’s must be eligible for the service. Some organizations offer their services for free, while others could impose a modest fee.

4. Adult Day Care Services

Adult day care services offer a secure environment, enjoyable activities, and staff who are attentive to the needs of the Alzheimer’s patient in an adult day care facility. They additionally offer transportation and can pick up the patient, take them to the day care, and return them home. These services can help you take a much-needed respite.

Many initiatives need private funding, but some organizations, like the government, may have grants or assistance funds available to help. One method to keep your loved one in their home while providing stimulation and attention during the day when you’re not there is via adult day care services. Many seniors get along well with the employees and have a great time at these facilities.

5. Visiting Healthcare Providers

If you find taking your loved one to the hospital or doctor’s office challenging, you can get help for visiting healthcare providers. Many communities have visiting healthcare providers who can visit you at home for an examination and to offer care. Medicare, Medicaid, or your insurance can cover some of these medical services, but other services might only be accessible for a price. You can find out if there are any mobile healthcare providers in your area by searching online or in the phone book.

6. Respite Services

Respite services offer temporary care for Alzheimer’s patients at home, in an adult daycare center, or healthcare facility. The duration could be a few hours or several weeks. These services allow you to take a break from the regular and prevent caregiver burnout.

Respite services may bill by the hour, day, or week. Most insurance plans do not cover the expenses. Medicare, however, will cover a hospice patient’s respite care expenses in a hospital or skilled nursing facility for up to five consecutive days.

7. Facility Options

Although many individuals wish they could keep their loved ones with them at home, for some people, residential care facilities are the best choice. It can be because their loved one needs a lot of care around the clock, their problematic behaviors make it risky for one person to provide care, or Medicaid is the sole funding source for nursing homes.

Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and specialized dementia care units are all possible residential settings for adults with dementia. Depending upon the level of care required, the facilities in your neighborhood, and the financial resources available, you can choose the suitable one.

8. Hospice Care

Your loved one might benefit from hospice care in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. Hospice care is for people nearing the end of their lives who are no longer getting treatment for a fatal illness. Hospice care keeps the dying person in their home or a hospice center as pain-free and pleasant as possible. Additionally, they assist the family by offering end-of-life care. If you choose to start getting curative therapies again, you can terminate hospice care at any time.

Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Health Administration, or private insurance plans may cover all the hospice expenses. If you receive hospice care in a nursing home or an assisted facility, you may need to pay for the room and all the other costs not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance.

Since symptoms like memory loss and confusion worsen with Alzheimer’s progression, caregivers will need help. It may seem like asking for assistance implies weakness or a lack of concern, yet the opposite is true. It indicates your strength and awareness of boundaries and when to ask for help. So, dear caregivers, you can consider the care options for your elderly loved ones whenever you feel the need for assistance!