5 ways cannabis can help with Alzheimer’s disease
The therapeutic potential of cannabis in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease was one of the first known medical uses of cannabis. Today, we know more about the specific effects and their mechanisms, so here are 5 ways cannabis can help with Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’ve been following medical marijuana studies over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the promise of cannabis compounds in the lab.We take a look back at some of the research that is shedding light on a new avenue of medicine that explores the fascinating role of our endocannabinoid system in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. As we look to the future, imagine what we will achieve once the legal barriers to cannabis research are removed.
1. THC Slows Buildup of Neural Plaques
One of the characteristic pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease is the build-up of amyloid plaques, a toxic accumulation of peptides in neuronal tissue. In this 2008 study published in Molecular Pharmaceutics, THC was found to slow the overgrowth of these amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides, a finding also observed in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The earlier authors even found that a low dose of THC “is a much more effective inhibitor of AChE-induced Aβ deposition than the drugs approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, donepezil and tacrine, which reduced Aβ aggregation by only 22% and 7%, respectively, at twice the concentration used in our studies.”
2. Cannabis suppresses inflammation
Another factor contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s is the inflammation around these amyloid plaques. A 2006 report published in the journal Neuroscience examined the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in Alzheimer’s because activation of CB1 receptor sites has an anti-inflammatory effect. Other research cited in a 2012 report reinforces its importance; one study found that mice bred without CB1 receptors experienced faster cognitive degeneration. The link between the ECS and neurodegenerative diseases has yet to be investigated in human studies, but the premise of this preliminary research alone is encouraging.
3.CBD may prevent brain cells from dying
THC is not the only compound cannabis has to offer for Alzheimer’s research. The non-toxic cannabidiol – better known as CBD – has also hinted at its benefits in preventing cell death. In 2004, researchers noted CBD’s neuroprotective, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic properties, reducing neurotoxicity caused by amyloid deposits. These phenomena were re-examined in a 2009 report that showed promising avenues in cannabinoid therapy, including the combination of THC and CBD. The researchers pointed to the synergistic potential of cannabis constituents such as CBD and THC and drew a cautiously optimistic conclusion:
“The great therapeutic value of CBD, administered either alone or in combination with THC, stems from the consideration that it represents a rare, if not unique, compound that is able to induce a number of different types of properties by combining them (e.g. e.g. antiglutamatergic effects, anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant effects) covering almost all spectra of neurotoxic mechanisms operating in neurodegenerative disorders (excitotoxicity, inflammatory processes, oxidative damage, etc.) to provide neuroprotection”.
4. Cannabinoids stimulate brain cell renewal
So in addition to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of cannabis, cannabinoids also appear to play a role in the growth of neural tissue in the hippocampus – the area of the brain associated with memory. This mechanism, known as “neurogenesis”, was investigated and discussed in a 2011 study and in a 2007 report, which observed that cannabinoids “support the brain’s intrinsic repair mechanisms.
5. Cannabis may alleviate other symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Cannabis can help patients live happier and more functional lives. From appetite stimulation and weight control to motor function and the reduction of agitation, the improved quality of life that cannabis can offer these patients.
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Published by Sakul18/02/2023