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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/

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