CBD is getting all of the attention these days, and with that comes intense scrutiny. Does it really work? Are its claims bogus? Will the FDA ever fully accept it?
But one area of scientific research that deserves much more attention is that of cannabis and its effect on Alzheimer’s and dementia. There have already been a handful of studies conducted that show some positive results — not in preventing the disease or curing it, but in slowing its progression and improving quality of life.
In one mice based study, THC, CBD and other cannabinoids were combined and administered to the subjects while they were experiencing the early symptomatic stage of Alzheimer’s. THC and CBD did the most to “prevent learning impairment,” and there was change in the plaques responsible for building up and causing memory blockages.
The anti-inflammatory role of cannabis also played a large role in the experiment, and it was found that the most relief was obtained with a combination of THC and CBD rather than THC or CBD by themselves.
There is an entourage effect in cannabis where the different cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and other compounds play off and increase each other’s therapeutic effects and values. A glaring example of this was when THC was isolated to concoct the pharmaceutical Marinol to combat chemotherapy sickness. It soon became apparent to both doctors and patients that THC alone did not work as expected and was not nearly as effective as hoped.
It makes sense, then, that when combating illness as severe as Alzheimer’s that all the medicinal properties of the plant are needed for the best results. As pointed out on the Alzheimer’s Association’s UK website, “…As yet no studies or trials have looked into the effects of cannabis or its components on the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease in people. 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.”