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Medical Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease

What Is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive neurologic disease of the brain that leads to the irreversible loss of neurons and dementia. It’s the most common cause of dementia among older people, affects more than 5 million Americans. It is an irreversible and progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease and there is no proven treatment to slow its progression. However, doctors commonly prescribe several medicines that may help improve the mental function of people with Alzheimer's disease, such as donepezil and tacrine.

However, new research shows that medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease may prevent the formation of deposits in the brain associated with the degenerative disease. They have also found that marijuana is one of the most effective medications for Alzheimer’s disease.

Medical Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease

The Advantages of Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease

For example, in an article titled "A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology," published in Molecular Pharmaceutics, Lisa M. Eubanks, PhD (Staff Scientist at the Scripps Research Institute and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology) reported that THC is a considerably more effective inhibitor than the approved drugs for Alzheimer's disease treatment, donepezil and tacrine.

Furthermore, she stated that “THC and its analogues may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease [by] simultaneously treating both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer's disease."

Another researcher, Maria L. de Ceballos, PhD, Group Leader in the Department of Neural Plasticity at the Cajal Institute in Spain, found in a recent marijuana study that the cannabinoid receptors found in marijuana are important in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease and that cannabinoids succeed in preventing the neurodegenerative process occurring in the disease.

Unfortunately, research into the benefits of medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease and myriad other health issues has been largely stymied in the United States due to federal government roadblocks fueled by pharmaceutical company “intervention.” However, the research that has been conducted in the U.S. and abroad shows that there are several specific ways that marijuana may be able to help those suffering from Alzheimer’s. Here are a few of them.

Fighting inflammation — It is believed that a major contributing factor to Alzheimer’s development is inflammation around plaque that builds up in the brain. Cannabinoids have shown promise in reducing inflammation and slowing cognitive degeneration as a result.

Slowing plaque buildup — THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has been shown to slow the formation of damaging plaque in the brain.

Slowing of cell death — Cannabidiol can help slow the process of cell death, known as apoptosis. Used in combination with THC, it has shown promise in reducing oxidative injury, inflammatory events and other mechanisms that help contribute to degeneration of the brain.

Stimulation of cell growth — Cannabinoids also show promise in helping to stimulate the growth of tissue in the portion of the brain that controls memory, known as the hippocampus.

Reduction of other symptoms — Alzheimer’s patients typically suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including irritability, loss of appetite, pain and many others. Marijuana is a known appetite stimulant, and also provides a relaxed feeling. These and other properties can help greatly improve the quality of life of people suffering from this terrible disease.

Edible Medical Cannabis for Alzheimer’s Disease

A very effective method of taking medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease is using edibles. While smoking is the quickest way to introduce cannabinoids and THC into the body, there is still a stigma attached with the approach. Also, many older Alzheimer’s patients may have respiratory problems that could make it difficult to smoke. Others may be hesitant to do so because of the smell.

There are several benefits to using edibles. For one thing, it helps conserve a great deal of the plant that would otherwise be wasted because it’s not conducive for smoking. Eating marijuana also provides a mellower high, making it more relaxing for many users. While smoked marijuana brings a faster high that comes on anywhere between a few seconds and a minute, the effects typically only last for anywhere from one to three hours.

Edible marijuana, on the other hand, takes longer to take effect, but they last as long as seven hours. In addition, people who use edible cannabis don’t typically experience the tired, burned-out feeling that can often occur when smoking.

Using edible medical marijuana for Alzheimer’s disease can be a bit tricky at first, however. Because someone can’t feel the effects right away, he or she may be more prone to eating too much. The best way to use edible cannabis is for the patient to eat a small amount first on an empty stomach, wait about an hour, and then decide if he or she needs more. An expert at a local medical marijuana dispensary can provide guidance to take much of the guesswork out of the edible approach.

Medical Marijuana is an affordable, natural alternative that has helped thousands of Alzheimer’s disease patients. If you or someone you love is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and would like to find out if medical marijuana is the right treatment for you, book an appointment with a local, qualified physician through today. Let us help improve your quality of life!



This information is not provided by medical professionals and is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals.  If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.

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