Medical Marijuana: Cannabis and Alzheimer’s DiseaseWritten by Chris Weatherall on Jan 30, 2018
The Relationship Between Medical Cannabis and Alzheimer’s Disease
The efficacy of medical marijuana has been a major topic of discussion in the medical community and the American public for years. Though it’s been commonly prescribed for issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma and nausea from chemotherapy, recent studies have found that it can also ease some of the symptoms of conditions like Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s patients and their families should understand the potential value medical marijuana has for people with this condition.
Related Reading: Medical Marijuana Resources and Education
Support for Medical Marijuana in the Medical Community
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved two types of medical marijuana in pill form to help people manage the side effects of chemotherapy and medical conditions such as AIDS. Medical marijuana can reduce pain symptoms, reduce nausea, and improve appetite for patients who have difficulty eating.
Medical marijuana is also a viable alternative to addictive pain medications like opioid-based pills. Now, researchers are studying the effects of medical marijuana on Alzheimer ’s disease.
Does Medical Marijuana Help Alzheimer’s Disease?
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced Alzheimer’s disease understands the difficulties and heartbreak that accompany the condition. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that causes the victim to lose memories, and eventually prevents him or her from carrying on with daily life without assistance.
One of the main factors in Alzheimer’s progression is the prevalence of beta-amyloid proteins in the patient. Medical marijuana can help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and slow the disease’s progression. The psychoactive compound in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), slows beta-amyloid production.
While the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published a preclinical study’s findings in support of medical marijuana, researchers continue to emphasize that just because a drug may effectively treat a specific medical condition, it does not mean it is safe for all patients with that condition. The long-term effects of marijuana use are still a major focal point in conversations about the drug’s medical applications, as well as its potential for addiction and abuse.
Another study published by the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, seems to corroborate the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease’s study findings. Researchers at the Salk Institute report that THC reduces beta-amyloid proteins in the brain. Beta-amyloid proteins cause an inflammatory response in brain nerve cells, leading to eventual cell death.
By cutting off beta-amyloid production and reducing existing levels in the brain, THC can prevent brain nerve cell death and the accompanying symptoms often seen in Alzheimer’s patients. The results of these studies have encouraged other researchers to continue studying the relationship between THC and Alzheimer’s.
Related Reading: How to Get Your Arizona Medical Marijuana Card
Medical Marijuana and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia lead to several psychological symptoms that can be extremely difficult for sufferers of the disease and their families to manage. The other active compound in marijuana aside from THC is cannabidiol (CBD), and some medical professionals have delved into the possible uses for this compound in medical capacities.
Researchers from the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, conducted a study involving CBD in dementia treatment, but their findings did not indicate any improvement among test subjects.
THC and CBD for Alzheimer’s Patients
Conversely, another study from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that cannabis extract does manage the negative symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, including:
While medical marijuana’s applications for dementia treatment remain vague, it seems clear that both THC and CBD display positive effects for Alzheimer’s patients.
A research team including medical faculty at Tel-Aviv University’s Abarbanel Mental Health Center recently released findings that support medical marijuana’s proposed effectiveness in Alzheimer’s treatment. Although the study was relatively small and included only 11 test subjects, the researchers concluded that medical cannabis oil shows promise as a safe and effective addition to an Alzheimer’s patient’s pharmacotherapy regimen.
Hope for the Future
Although the current White House administration has appeared intransigent on the subject of marijuana’s medical applications, there could be a push for more access to medical marijuana in the near future. The baby boomer generation reports a much longer lifespan than previous generations, and the generations born after the boomers will likely have similar or longer average life spans.
If people are living longer, this means they are at a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Medical marijuana would not only help these individuals prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and manage the symptoms of existing cases, but it would also provide a relatively inexpensive treatment resource that could improve the lives of millions of older Americans.
Kind Meds Can Help
Kind Meds is a medical marijuana dispensary in Mesa, Arizona. We are dedicated to providing the highest-quality medical cannabis products for patients who qualify for medical marijuana licenses in Arizona. The quality of our medical cannabis products is unsurpassed, and medication is available in several forms. Not everyone can inhale marijuana smoke or vapor, and we provide these patients with access to edibles, concentrates and CBD products – including tinctures and topical medications.
Alzheimer’s disease is a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana license in Arizona, and patients can curb the development of harmful beta-amyloid proteins using medical cannabis. Additionally, marijuana provides relief from the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease to provide patients with a better quality of life. Medical marijuana card holders in Arizona can reach out to Kind Meds or visit us in Mesa for more information about the cannabis products we carry that effectively treat Alzheimer’s and its symptoms.