Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Alzheimer’s is a scary disease. When your brain cells die off, your brain functions begin to regress, causing personality changes and memory issues. Even if you don’t have late-stage Alzheimer’s, just the idea of having the disease can cause distress.
But, you have options. In addition to standard remedies used for anxiety symptoms and Alzheimer’s, you can use medical marijuana to calm yourself down. Let’s explore how you can take advantage of medical cannabis’ anxiety-relieving qualities.
Many factors go into Alzheimer’s disease. It has multiple causes that work together to block the connections between brain cells. Eventually, the brain degenerates to the point that the patient dies.
Plaques formed from the protein amyloid beta can form in an Alzheimer’s patient’s brain. They tend to affect the parts of the brain that handle learning and memory. Brain plaques impede the neurotransmitters in those areas, impairing the patient’s ability to learn and remember things.
Alzheimer’s disease also creates excess tau protein that tangles the connections between cells in the brain. The connections that transport nutrition can’t provide nutrients to the connected cells, causing them to die off.
The plaques and tangles prevent brain cells from getting the nourishment and communication they need to survive, eventually killing them. As more cells die, the brain shrinks, and brain function is further impaired.
Anxiety symptoms appear in both early and later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The severity of the anxiety symptoms depends on the severity of the Alzheimer’s.
When Alzheimer’s disease damages the brain to a certain point, the patient begins to experience mood symptoms like anxiety. Early stage patients can also deal with depression and irritability. Patients in a later stage of the disease have a much broader range of mood symptoms, including agitation, aggression, delusions, hallucinations, general distress and outbursts.
To understand how marijuana can relieve your anxiety symptoms, you should know about the chemical components of cannabis. Over 85 compounds called cannabinoids make up marijuana. When we talk about cannabinoids, we mainly discuss THC and CBD since we know the most information about them.
It’s important to understand the amount of THC versus the amount of CBD in a marijuana strain when you need cannabis medicine for anxiety. Each compound has a wildly different impact on your anxiety levels. If you use the wrong strain, you can make your anxiety even worse!
While CBD soothes anxiety, THC worsens it. THC provides the “high” obtained from using marijuana, and can make someone feel on edge when taken in large amounts. On the other hand, CBD has calming properties perfect for anxiety symptoms without impairing your brain functions.
Additionally, marijuana strains come in two distinct categories with different impacts on your mood. Indica strains have calming, sedative properties suitable for anxiety. However, sativa strains are used to provide energy, so they could make you feel extra anxious.
You also have the option of using a hybrid strain that crossbreeds elements from both indica and sativa strains. In the case that you feel depressed from your Alzheimer’s disease, you can medicate with a hybrid that calms you down without putting you on edge.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we aim to offer a one-stop shop for the basic information about medical marijuana you need. Alzheimer’s disease patients trying to address their anxiety can visit the following pages:
We also encourage you to search our database of doctors to find a physician qualified to recommend medical marijuana. You can also browse our dispensary directory to find a shop that sells cannabis medicine near you.