Can CBD Help With Dementia?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, has been associated with a number of health benefits so could it also help with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease?
First off, in CBD’s favor it is known to impact a specific system in the brain – the endocannabinoid system.
This system contains two receptors – CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is located throughout the brain, including in the hippocampus, which controls our memory and learning functions. CB2 receptors, by the way, are located in brain immune cells called microglia.
A study entitled “Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Dementia: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines” pointed out that CBD is known to “associate with neurotransmitters that are responsible for the production of neuropsychiatric symptoms.”
However, as of this time there are no studies that confirm CBD can help with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
But many experts do believe that CBD may be able to relieve some of the symptoms associated with these conditions of the mind.
So let’s take a closer look at Alzheimer’s disease:
Alzheimer’s Disease now affects an estimated 44 million people worldwide. Currently, one in nine people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s and the total number of people with the condition is expected to increase rapidly in the future.
Clearly, Alzheimer’s is a serious condition that is having a significant impact.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia in existence today. Basically, it is a general term for memory loss and other problems with intellectual abilities, such as thinking and behaving, that interfere with daily life.
Alzheimer’s currently accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
While researches continue to study and learn about this debilitating condition, the Alzheimer’s Association at ALZ.org says the latest line of thinking regarding Alzheimer’s is that it involves microscopic changes in the brain that begin long before the first signs of memory loss.
Here’s what the association says about how Alzheimer’s affects the brain:
“The brain has 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). Each nerve cell connects with many others to form communication networks. Groups of nerve cells have special jobs. Some are involved in thinking, learning and remembering. Others help us see, hear and smell.
To do their work, brain cells operate like tiny factories. They receive supplies, generate energy, construct equipment and get rid of waste. Cells also process and store information and communicate with other cells. Keeping everything running requires coordination as well as large amounts of fuel and oxygen.
Scientists believe Alzheimer's Disease prevents parts of a cell's factory from running well. They are not sure where the trouble starts. But just like a real factory, backups and breakdowns in one system cause problems in other areas. As damage spreads, cells lose their ability to do their jobs and, eventually die, causing irreversible changes in the brain.”
1. Getting Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.
While the greatest known risk factor for getting Alzheimer’s is age that doesn’t mean that it is a standard part of aging. In fact, 5% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have what is called early-onset Alzheimer’s and are only in their 40s and 50s.
2. Alzheimer’s worsens over time.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease in which its symptoms will get worse over time. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, memory loss and other symptoms may be mild. However, in the later stages Alzheimer’s individuals may even lose the ability to carry a conversation or respond to their environment.
According to experts, Alzheimer’s victims live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others. However, survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on a variety of conditions, including a person’s age.
3. Alzheimer’s currently does not have a cure.
Unfortunately, no current Alzheimer’s treatment can prevent the condition from progressing. Current treatments can slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those who have it.
For example, CBD can help relieve agitation and stress, which are two symptoms dementia sufferers often experience.
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So what are the signs that someone might have Alzheimer’s Disease? Here are 10 common symptoms:
1. Forgetting recently learned information. This could be forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information again and again and/or an increased reliance on memory aids.
2. Difficulty solving problems. For example, a person may start taking a lot longer to solve challenges they face. People may also fail to properly take care of their monthly bills. They may also have trouble concentrating.
3. Difficulty completing tasks. For people with Alzheimer’s previous daily tasks that they accomplished easily can now become more difficult to accomplish. Examples include: driving to a familiar location, managing a budget or remembering the rules of a frequently played game
4. Time Confusion. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s may frequently forget the date or have trouble keeping track of the seasons and/or the passage of time. They may also have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately.
5. Visual Problems. Some people with Alzheimer’s may develop issues with their vision. For example, they may have trouble reading, judging distance or determining color. All of these issues can affect a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
6. Speaking Trouble. People with Alzheimer’s may begin to have difficulty keeping up with a conversation. They may stop in the middle of what they are saying or may frequently repeat themselves. They also may struggle in finding the word they want to use.
7. Start Misplacing Things. People with Alzheimer’s can also start putting things in unusual places and then not be able to retrace their steps and find them.
8. Poor Judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s can start making poor decisions with money. They may also begin to pay less attention to grooming and hygiene than they used to.
9. Become More Withdrawn. Alzheimer’s sufferers may start withdrawing from work and social activities.
10. Mood Changes. Those with Alzheimer’s may also exhibit changes in mood and personality. They may become fearful or confused or suspicious. They may start getting upset more easily.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting some of these signs, CBD may be able to reduce or relieve their symptoms.
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