If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, you know it’s one of the most challenging conditions anyone can experience. With only a few treatments available to address this disease, you might be wondering if cannabis could be an option. Let’s take a look at what the latest research has to say about cannabis for Alzheimer’s.
The Basics of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s Diseases (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive symptoms like memory loss, dementia, emotional struggles, speech issues, and more. It develops when destructive amyloid plaques and tangles start to build up in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is responsible for memory. As nerve cells die, connections are lost, and it becomes hard for the patient to remember events, reason, and even recognize people they know.
Unfortunately, there limited treatments that exist for AD. Therapies that are currently available only address the symptoms, not the progression of the disease itself. As the search for new therapies continues, there has been a development in the interest of cannabis-based treatments. The good news is researchers are hard at work to advance our understanding of how medical cannabis could play a role in the future of AD treatment.
Cannabis for Alzheimer’s
Researchers think that cannabis can interact with the brain in a way that provides AD symptom relief, as well as neuroprotection to fight disease progression. While there have only been a few studies so far on how cannabis might help AD patients, the findings look promising:
- A 2018 study published by the Society for Neuroscience looked at mice with AD. It concluded that the mice treated with THC experienced improvements in memory and reduced neuronal loss.
- In a study conducted in 2016, Israeli researchers administered cannabis oil to Alzheimer’s patients. The researchers observed a significant decrease in dementia symptoms. They concluded that cannabis was a safe and promising option for treating AD symptoms.
- A 2016 Salk Institute study found that THC worked to reverse harmful amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. They also found that THC reduced the inflammation that leads to brain cell damage.
- A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease looked at how THC can reduce amyloid plaque buildup and found promising results. They reported that their data strongly supports THC as a potential treatment option for fighting AD through several pathways.
The Bottom line?
While these findings are exciting, memory and dementia symptoms are not the only way cannabis can help AD patients. As the diseases progress, many patients experience depression, agitation, and anxiety. Cannabis has been proven to improve mood and ease depression and anxiety and can be used to enhance the quality of life for those suffering from AD.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is not yet a Maryland medical cannabis qualifying condition. If you think it should be, please write your legislators!
Would you like to know more about medical cannabis? We’d love to help. Schedule an appointment and we can help you become a registered Medical Cannabis Patient in Maryland.