Medical Marijuana Research Surrounding Alzheimer's Disease

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana, Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana, Inc.

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia in which brain cells degenerate and die, resulting in the progressive destruction of memory, behavior, and thinking. Hallmark signs of the disease include plaques and tangles building up within the brain and interfering with cell communication and nutrient transport, which contributes to the death of brain cells. Symptoms begin with mild confusion and forgetfulness, but over time memory loss persists and worsens and causes patients to have problems or difficulty finding the right words, concentrating, thinking, and experience depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, mood swings, and irritability. Current pharmaceutical treatment options are only temporary, but now studies show Cannabis could help.

Studies have determined the cannabinoids THC and CBD have the potential to reduce the buildup of plaques and tangles, therefore combatting the early stages of Alzheimer's. THC also lowers amyloid-beta levels and enhances mitochondrial functions, and it prevents amyloid beta aggregation giving it the potential to slow the progression of the disease. CBD modulates microglial function, a contributor to tangles in the brain, and controls neuroinflammation. CBD also improves the rate of survival of cells through neuroprotective, anti-oxidative, and anti-apoptic effects against the toxicity caused by beta-amyloid function, making it a potential treatment option for Alzheimer's patients. Researchers previously related a lack of glucose uptake in the brain to the cause of Alzheimer's, and cannabis is able to promote the uptake of glucose in the brain. THC alone enhances cerebral glucose uptake by about 30%.

With all of these therapeutic benefits, cannabis could serve as a multi-faceted treatment option for those who suffer from Alzheimer's. This information has been provided by Medical Marijuana, Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.