CBD is seen as a potential solution to many medical problems, so it’s understandable Alzheimer’s Disease is often linked with CBD.
This article will focus on CBD’s effects in relation to Alzheimer’s disease, whilst explaining what CBD is, how it can be taken and also clearing up the common misconceptions that surround it as well.
Does CBD help with Alzheimer’s disease? Yes, studies have shown CBD can help with Alzheimer’s Disease. Scientific as well as people’s personal evidence shows CBD helps relieve and aid in the treatment of some of the symptoms that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
A study on CBD and Alzheimer’s done on mice found that CBD can reverse cognitive deficits related to Alzheimer’s, including social withdrawal and facial recognition issues.
The study also found that CBD exerted “neuroprotective, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties.”.
The study suggests that CBD has “potential” as a “preventative treatment” for Alzheimer’s disease.
Many variables have to be considered with CBD because it depends on the product, the quality of it and how some people metabolize CBD differently, just as with any biohacking supplement.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is extracted from the leaves, stalks, and flowers of industrial hemp plants. CBD is a cannabinoid, these are compounds found in the cannabis plant species. Unlike the similarly prominent cannabinoid, THC, CBD is non-psychoactive meaning it does not produce a ‘high’.
Because CBD is extracted from industrial hemp plants, it contains less than 0.2 – 0.3% THC content, so long as the product abides by this content level, it is legal in the US, UK, and Canada.
THC is the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant species, it is responsible for the ‘high’ that cannabis gives you.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
First, let’s distinguish the terms “Dementia” and “Alzheimer’s”. Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of symptoms all relating to a progressive decline in brain function.
This decline affects functions ranging from memory and thinking skills to facial recognition. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of Dementia.
As AD comes under the umbrella of dementia it is a progressive condition, the symptoms and severity of the disease gradually, over time, develop and get worse.
The first signs of Alzheimer’s are minor memory problems including forgetting conversations, events or names of places and objects.
Unfortunately, these problems are often ignored and put off as simple mistakes and not properly taken care of.
That is not to say that every loss of memory should automatically be assumed to be AD, however.
Once constant memory issues occur see your doctor as soon as possible.
Progression of memory problems can develop into:
- Difficulty to plan or make decisions
- Problems with movement
- Problems with speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Confusion, disorientation
- Personality changes
- Down mood
Traditional treatments for AD are limited and as there is no cure, medication only helps to relieve some of the symptoms.
Unconventional/nonmedical treatments like adjusting the home environment of the patient are available in order to make it easier for them to perform tasks and move around.
Psychological treatments like cognitive stimulation therapy are also available to help support memory, problem-solving skills, and language ability.
There is no way to prevent AD as the cause of the disease is not yet known. Certain things have been shown to reduce the risk of dementia however, this includes:
- Stopping smoking
- Consuming less alcohol
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Being a health weight
- Staying physically fit and mentally active
How does CBD help?
Many studies have shown CBD to be anti-inflammatory. This can affect AD by reducing or even completely alleviating the effects that inflammation can have as well as oxygen buildup and brain cell decline.
Inflammation occurs with AD when the brain’s immune cells fail to clear disorienting blockages. This inflammation which is linked to many of the symptoms of AD can be reduced by CBD as it is an anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation in the brain leads to oxygen being released. This release of oxygen into the brain cells impacts the brain functions aforementioned.
Furthermore, as CBD has been shown to have antioxidant properties, this can help to reduce issues relating to the release of oxygen which comes from inflammation – this is known as oxygen stress and it can be improved by CBD.
Clinical trials and studies like this have shown that CBD can reverse the aging process of the brain, something which is sped up to be AD, Dementia was also shown to be potentially reversible with CBD. In addition, CBD has been shown in studies to promote hippocampal neurogenesis.
This is the body’s process of forming new neurons and cells in the brain, it can reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions.
CBD forms and dosage
CBD comes in a variety of forms, these include:
- Oil in sprays and tinctures
- Vaporizers/vape oils
- Infused water
- Infused coffee
- Shower gels/bath bombs/bath salts and shampoos
Dosing for CBD is a grey area with the product at the moment.
Because the ailments that it treats are still being discovered, there is no universal dosage recommendation for all illnesses and diseases.
While CBD is not yet prescribable, many doctors are still knowledgeable about the product and should be able to provide recommendations for dosage – ask your doctor for recommendations and cautions surrounding CBD and its interaction with other drugs that the AD sufferer is taking. Often dosage depends on weight and the severity of the ailment.
Capsules are the easiest method of CBD intake for AD sufferers as they are one time ‘applicants’ and dosage is clear per capsule.
Look to the medium to higher dosage sections in the table below (after consulting with your doctor) which gives an outline of body weight relating to dosage.
Misconceptions surrounding CBD
Does CBD get you high?
CBD does not get you high. Legal CBD extracted from industrial hemp plants are legally required to contain less than 0.2 % in the UK, and 0.3% in the US, THC content.
This amount is insignificant and presents no risk of getting ‘high’ from taking any CBD products.
Legality of CBD
In Canada, CBD along with recreational marijuana use is legal, however individual provinces have their own laws so check here for a more detailed outline on the legality of CBD in Canada. CBD products from Canada may contain more than the legal amount of THC (as there is no limit) than other countries allow, so be cautious in transporting or trying to import CBD products from Canada.
In the United States, some states have legalized recreational marijuana use while some outlaw CBD as they do not differ it from marijuana itself, check here for a state by state guide on the legality of CBD in the US. In federal law, CBD is legal so long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.3% THC content.
In the United Kingdom CBD is legal as long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.2% THC content.
In Australia, CBD and other ‘medicinal cannabis’ products can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner following an in-depth assessment of the patient’s condition and individual, outside circumstances.
Side effects and risks of CBD
Side effects of CBD are largely uncommon and insignificant. Short term side effects include:
- Tiredness + mood changes
- Appetite change
Long term side effects are unstudied as studies have only recently begun on CBD.
Failing a drug test because of CBD
Drug tests look for THC and its metabolites. Because CBD contains trace amounts of THC a false positive can result from taking CBD so be cautious when taking CBD before a drug test.
Both the Hemp and Marijuana plant, which CBD can be derived from, contain THC. Industrial Hemp is legal because the amount of THC is limited to 0.2 – 0.3%, where Marijuana plants have no limit, which is why the plant is illegal.
CBD can interfere with your body’s ability to process certain pharmaceutical drugs; specifically, it inhibits cytochrome p450. As with some other medications, CBD is metabolized in the body by the enzymes in the CYP450 system.
So, in competing for these enzymes, CBD can reduce the metabolism of other drugs, raising their blood levels and having the inhibitor effect described above. This means that lower dosages are more likely to be required without knowing so.
This could lead to the potentially harmful levels suggested above. Clinical trials have shown this where CBD is provided in hundreds of milligrams (mg) daily.
The average CBD supplement pill can range from 10 to 40 mg, therefore the effect may not be as strong in smaller doses of CBD. Drugs that are affected by grapefruit do have warnings so watch out for these and avoid CBD when seeing this warning.
CBD is seen as one of the most promising potential treatments for dementia-related diseases.
It’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and neurogenesis promoting properties all help to reduce and maybe even stop the progression of brain degeneration that diseases like Alzheimer’s cause.
Studies are being conducted daily as more research is needed, but CBD shows great promise in treating the symptoms of and the overall disease of Alzheimer’s.