CBD and Brain Health – Dementia and Alzheimer’s
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Recent studies and anecdotal evidence show that CBD can have a tremendous positive influence on many disorders in our brains. This topic is way too large to cover in a single article, with that said, in this article we will examine research being done in regard to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is the 5th leading cause of death for people 65 and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s currently affects over 5.3 million people and 1 in 3 seniors. Additionally, the number of patients diagnosed is expected to triple over the next 50 years. There is no cure for the disease, all we can do is hopefully slow the progression.
There is still a great deal we do not understand about these two diseases and the two are often mixed up in daily conversations. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities. Alzheimer’s, which accounts for up to 70% of all dementia cases is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.
Dementia can be caused by other factors such as brain trauma and diseases such as Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
One of the causes of both is the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain cells. According to a recent study from USC, high blood pressure and decreased blood flow due to less elasticity of the blood vessels inside the brain, may spur the buildup of amyloid plaque. This plaque is a common waste product produced by the nerve cells in the brain and is normally washed away by healthy blood flow. However, as blood flow decreases the plaque builds up, eventually cutting the blood flow completely to the cells, causing them to die.
A secondary cause of Alzheimer’s is inflammation. Researchers at the Salk Institute found in a study published June 2016, that high levels of amyloid beta were associated with cellular inflammation and higher rates of neuron death. Salk professor David Schubert, senior author of the paper states “Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells.”
A recent report published in Frontiers of Pharmacology sites a study from two Australian researchers, Tim Karl and Carl Group. They explained the reason for the study, “CBD has been shown to possess neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties in vitro. These properties suggest that the compound could be therapeutically beneficial for reducing or even inhibiting the cognitive and functional impairment that occurs with Alzheimer’s disease.”
The team found that CBD shows promise as a therapeutic application for Alzheimer’s. Their study showed it helps reduce reactive gliosis (change in the gliosis cells in response to damage) and the neuroinflammatory response which has been linked to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s progression.
The findings also showed that CBD promotes the growth and development of neurons (neurogenesis) to help reduce the deterioration of cognitive function.
In my opinion, the studies cited above and numerous others I have ran across while researching this topic, provide an abundant amount of evidence that CBD and other cannabinoids including THC may be helpful in preventing and/or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s.
It’s a shame that although more studies on this compound are definitely needed, they are being prohibited because of the schedule 1 classification by our government.
Below are a few of my sources, more available upon request: