Whilst the studies in the laboratory show some promise, we need to understand the wider effects that these components have before we can know whether they have any effect – positive or negative – on the development of Alzheimer’s in people.
Read our advice to help reduce your risk of developing dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society has never funded research into cannabis and dementia risk, or into cannabis as a potential treatment for dementia symptoms.
Treating and preventing dementia
The jury is still out on whether cannabis or its by-products could be used to treat dementia. A lack of strong research studies mean that dubious and anecdotal reports have taken the place of hard evidence.
It is also important to note that the researchers in these studies have used high concentrations of CBD oil that may not be available to buy. These studies have also been short term so we still don’t know what the long term effects of using CBD oil might be.
Cannabidiol or CBD does not cause any psychoactive or intoxicating effects.
Products that contain CBD are legal and can be bought on the high street or online.
According to Dementia Care Central, Pick’s Disease is a “progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes (the areas behind one’s forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind one’s ears)”. This disease leads to depression or psychosis and usually requires antipsychotic drugs for treatment. Unfortunately, antipsychotic drugs may increase the risk of death. On the bright side, CBD does not do that and may actually improve your sleep, reduce anxiety, attack inflammation, and reduce motor symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia.
There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with the disease, it’s really not just memory loss.
As for right now, CBD has been labeled as safe to try. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or
CBD for Frontotemporal Dementia / Pick’s Disease
Dementia with Lewy Bodies refers to a disease characterized by an abnormal amount of alpha-synuclein otherwise known as Lewy bodies deposited in the brain. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, these deposits, though microscopic, damage the brain cells. Dementia with Lewy bodies results in a decline in thinking, reasoning and independent function. Fortunately, CBD can be helpful. According to Dementia Care Central, “CBD can be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, reduce motor symptoms (tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia) and maintain circadian (sleep) rhythms”. It was also noted that it doesn’t block acetylcholine which this disease preys on. Acetylcholine is essential for memory and learning. The fact that CBD doesn’t block acetylcholine is great. Traditionally, patients suffering from this disease are given a cholinesterase inhibitor drug which prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine.
Vascular Dementia is a form of dementia characterized by experiencing thought processes such as reasoning, planning, judgment, memory as a result of brain damage caused by an impairment of blood flow to the brain. CBD may help increase blood flow to the brain. According to Dementia Care Central, “Activating the CB2 receptors with CBD has increased brain cell activity and helped reduce brain cell damage commonly associated with vascular dementia.”
Although some have posited that CBD reverses dementia, unfortunately, dementia currently has no cure nor can the progression of the disease be altered. However, CBD may help ease some of the uncomfortable signs and symptoms associated with the disease. The review says that the way in which CBD helps dementia is not crystal clear but what they do know is that CBD interacts with the neurotransmitters that are responsible for or involved in the manifestation of neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Alzheimer’s Disease and CBD Treatment