Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 11:36 am

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible condition that slowly, progressively destroys brain cells over time. The most common symptoms include loss of memory and thinking skills (otherwise referred to as cognitive impairment). As the disease progresses, people with AD will lose the ability to perform the simplest activities of daily living like dressing themselves, toileting, and bathing.

Every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. 5.8 million Americans, including 390,000 Texan, are living with AD, and these numbers are expected to increase as the population ages.

Medical Cannabis Uses for Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Alzheimer’s disease symptoms that may respond to cannabis include sleep problems, paranoia, anxiety, dysphoria, pain, poor appetite, and weight loss1. In late stage Alzheimer’s, cannabis may improve appetite, sleep issues, and diminish agitation.

Use of medical cannabis, CBD oil and CBD products, result in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neurogenic effects and clinical studies have reported positive behavioral effects in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Symptoms that May Respond to Medical Cannabis Treatments

  • appetite loss, weight loss
  • cachexia
  • behavioral changes1,3, agitation2,4
  • cognitive impairment or confusion5
  • memory loss6
  • neuroinflammation4,7,8
  • neurodegeneration4,7,9
  • pain: chronic pain10,11, and neuropathic pain
  • sleep issues2

Did we miss anything? Let us know and we can add it.

Dosing

Medical cannabis can be formulated specifically for you and the Alzheimer’s symptoms that you experience.

As with all medical prescriptions, specific dosing should be determined by and with your prescribing physician.

Could medical cannabis help with your symptoms?

Medical cannabis can be prescribed to address Alzheimer’s symptoms that you experience. As with all medical prescriptions, specific dosing should be determined by and with your prescribing physician.

If you do not have one, you can find a doctor that is registered with the Texas Compassionate Use Program.

If you would like to learn more about medical cannabis, read the Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis.    (working file)

  1. Talarico, G., et al. Modulation of the Cannabinoid System: A New Perspective for the Treatment of the Alzheimer’s Disease. Current Neuropharmacology, vol.17, no. 2, 2019.
  2. Suryadevara, Uma et al. “Pros and Cons of Medical Cannabis use by People with Chronic Brain Disorders.” Current neuropharmacology vol. 15,6 (2017): 800-814.
  3. Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 15-19, 2016.
  4. Passmore M.J. The cannabinoid receptor agonist nabilone for the treatment of dementia-related agitation. Int. J. Geriatr. Psychiatry. 2008;23(1):116–117.
  5. Sarne Y. THC for age-related cognitive decline?. Aging vol. 10(12):3628–3629. 2018.
  6. Currais, Antonio et al. Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, 2016.
  7. Campbell, V.A., et al.. Alzheimer’s disease; taking the edge off with cannabinoids? British Journal of Pharmacology (2009) 152, 655–662.
  8. Aso E, Ferrer I. Cannabinoids for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: moving toward the clinic. Front Pharmacol. 2014;5:37. Published 2014 Mar 5.
  9. Eubanks LM, Rogers CJ, Beuscher AE 4th, et al. A molecular link between the active component of marijuana and Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Mol Pharm. 2006;3(6):773–777. 2006
  10. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, 2017.
  11. Xiong, Wei et al. “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors.” The Journal of experimental medicine vol. 209,6 (2012): 1121-34. doi:10.1084/jem.20120242

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