Alzheimer’s could be considered as a misunderstood neurological condition in many instances as many people think it is completely different or completely the same as dementia. It is understandable to be confused about this as you are not completely wrong or right if you say either point. What we do know about it is that Alzheimer’s is considered as a type of dementia (there a different types) but not dementia in its “full blown” state.
Further more, due to its similar symptoms and causes it can lead to dementia at a certain point depending on how aggressive the condition is and how it’s treated. So in a way, Alzheimer’s is its own condition but it is also a stage towards dementia, but not full blown dementia.
So what do cannabinoids have to do with this condition that deals in the death of brains cells? As we have mentioned on cannabisMD before, cannabinoids are chemical compounds that can be found within humans, animals, plants and even made in a lab for testing purposes. Although they come from different places they can still have similar effects when passed from one source to another i.e. using cannabis to help with sleep. Cannabinoids play a part in our regulatory system known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It is responsible for keeping our bodies in balance.
A simple way to understand cannabinoids is to consider our ECS as trying to keep our body happy (regulated/balanced). The cannabinoids in our bodies (endocannabinoids) simply float around our nervous systems, organs and brain, via our ECS, stimulating and binding with receptors causing “actions” to take place when they are needed ( to fight infections), which keep our bodies happy and healthy.
The lack of our endocannabinoids, the cannabinoids we make ourselves, is when we need extra help from medications such as opioids (pain killers) or natural alternatives like cannabis (CBD oil).
Stanford research has shown that early deficits in Alzheimer’s may be caused by a link blockage of the brains cannabinoids. The Stanford team believes the cause has links between specific plaques and various cannabinoids in the brain. These compounds are naturally occurring and produced by the brain, mimicking the effects of plant cannabis as we mentioned before. Among many functions, these cannabinoids play a vital role in memory and learning. Dr. Daniel Madison, PhD, who led the study examined slides of mice brains when he noticed the effect cannabinoids played in Alzheimer’s progression.
The study further suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) oil, an extract from the hemp and cannabis plants, may also present a new opportunity for treating Alzheimer’s before the disease advances. The findings were published in June 18 2014 in the journal Neuron. Supporting this claim is a 2013 study by researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia who suggested CBD could be beneficial when dealing with Alzheimer’s. The team, led by TimKarl, PhD, found CBDs led to drastic improvements in mice genetically engineered to mimic Alzheimer’s disease. Besides the potential to combat Alzheimer’s symptoms, some studies suggest CBDs also hold promise in slowing progression of the disorder.
As these findings suggest, CBD has a lot of potential for Alzheimer’s treatment but further study is needed to discover which factors within Alzheimer’s can be treated if at all, and if they can, what type, concentration and dosage of CBD is needed? Please note that this article does not state that CBD can be used to treat Alzheimer’s and any such consideration should be taken with professional advice from a doctor or registered medical professional.