Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive degeneration of an individual’s brain tissue. It is the most common form of dementia and symptoms of the disease typically begin with memory impairment which then progress to cognitive dysfunction, difficulties with comprehension, loss of physical coordination, speech impairment, possible psychosis, severe mental decline, and ultimately death. How quickly the disease progresses varies from individual to individual and unfortunately the symptoms of the disease are often mistaken for “signs of age” in sufferers.
Although the disease mostly affects people over the age of 65, the disease is not a natural result of aging. The exact causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are still unknown, and sadly there is currently no known cure.
Using Cannabis to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. It’s usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and it’s versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.
It is exciting to know that the number of medical studies surrounding cannabis as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has grown over the past decade. Currently, there is a lot of interest in the neuroprotective properties of both Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), and one study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology by Campbell, et al in Jan 2009 concluded that, “...cannabinoids offer a multi-faceted approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by providing neuroprotection and reducing neuroinflammation, whilst simultaneously supporting the brain’s intrinsic repair mechanisms by augmenting neurotrophin expression and neurogenesis.”
In general, scientific studies have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the following reasons: slowing disease progression; reducing anxiety; mood enhancing for dealing with depression; preventing possible psychosis; reducing agitation and night time tossing and turning; and stimulating appetite to aid with weight gain.
Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Once again, THC and CBD have been the focus of much attention when it comes to medical research into the ailment, and it is important to remember that there are still other cannabinoids and even terpenoids that may help with treating the disease.
The following list denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit. It may be beneficial to seek out strains that contain these cannabinoids and terpenoids.
Understanding medical cannabis.Elemental Wellness Center, 2014 Jul.
How cannabinoids may slow brain aging.Szalavitz, Maia
Time, 2012 Oct 29.
Cannabinoid modulation of neuroinflammatory disorders.Saito, Viviane M., et al.
Current Neuropharmacology, 2012 Jun, 10(2): 159-166.
Terpenoids as potential anti-alzheimer’s disease therapeutics.Yoo, Ki-Yeol, et al.
Molecules, 2012 Mar 12, 17(3): 3524-3528.
The therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system for alzheimer’s disease.Karl, Tim, et al.
Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets, 2012 Apr, 16(4): 407-420.
An introduction to the medical benefits of cannabis.Acton, Jeremy, et al.
NORML, 2011 Apr 4.
Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids reduce microglial activation in vitro and in vivo: relevance to alzheimer’s disease.Martin-Moreno, Ana Maria, et al.
Molecular Pharmacology, 2011 Feb 24, 79(6): 964-973.
Cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids: role in neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders.Bisogno, Tiziana, et al.
CNS and Neurological Disorders: Drug Targets, 2010 Nov, 9(5): 564-573.
Cannabinoid system in neurodegeneration: new perspectives in alzheimer’s disease.Campillo, N.E., et al.
Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2009 May, 9(5): 539-559.
Alzheimer’s disease; taking the edge off with cannabinoids?Campbell, VA, et al.
British Journal of Pharmacology, 2009 Jan 29, 152(5): 655-662.
Cannabidiol: from an inactive cannabinoid to a drug with wide spectrum of action.Zuardi, Antonio Waldo
Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 2008 Sep, 30(3).
The role of the endocannabinoid system in alzheimer’s disease: facts and hypothesis.Bosogno, Tiziana, et al.
Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2008 Aug, 23(14): 2299-2305.
Cannabinoid CB2 receptor: a new target for controlling neural cell survival?Fernandez-Ruiz, Javier, et al.
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 2007 Jan, 28(1): 39-45.
A molecular link between the active component of marijuana and alzheimer’s disease pathology.Eubanks, Lisa M, et al.
Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2006 Aug 9, 3(6): 773-777.
Cannabidiol inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression and nitric oxide production in ?-amyloid stimulated PC12 neurons through p38 MAP kinase and NF-kB involvement.Esposito, Giuseppe, et al.
Neuroscience Letters, 2006 May 15, 399(1-2): 91-95.
The marijuana component cannabidiol inhibits ?-amyloid-induced tau protein hyperphosphorylation through Wnt/?-catenin pathway rescue in PC12 cells.Esposito, Giuseppe, et al.
Journal of Molecular Medicine, 2006, 84(3): 253-258.
A molecular link between the active component of marijuana and alzheimer’s disease pathology.Eubanks, Lisa M., et al.
Molecular pharmaceutics, 2006, 3(6): 773-777.
Stimulation of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) suppresses microglial activation.Ehrhart, Jared, et al.
Journal of Neuroinflammation, 2005 Dec 12, 2(29).
Prevention of alzheimer’s disease pathology by cannabinoids: neuroprotection mediated by blockade of microglial activation.Ramirez, Belen G, et al.
The Journal of Neuroscience, 2005 Feb 23, 25(8): 1904-1913.
Neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component from cannabis sativa, on ?-amyloid-induced toxicity in PC12 cells.Iuvone, Teresa, et al.
Journal of Neurochemistry, 2004 Apr, 89(1): 134-141.
The therapeutic potential of cannabis.Baker, David, et al.
The Lancet Neurology, 2003 May, 2(5): 291-298.
Amnesia induced by ?-amyloid fragments is counteracted by cannabinoid CB1 receptor blockade.Mazzola, Carmen, et al.
European Journal of Pharmacology, 2003 Sep 23, 477(3): 219-225.
Cannabinoids ablate release of TNF? in rat microglial cells stimulated with lypopolysaccharide.Facchinetti, Fabrizio, et al.
GLIA, 2003 Jan 15, 41(2): 161-168 (Full).