Updated: Aug 12, 2021
Every 65 seconds in America someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia (every 3 seconds worldwide). There is currently no cure for AD. It is a chronic neurodegenerative condition that gradually worsens over time and its cause is poorly understood. Once someone is diagnosed with AD their life expectancy is somewhere between 3-10 years.
Poor diet and lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing AD. Healthy lifestyle choices can certainly reduce your risk but are no guarantee a person will not develop the disease. Diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking will increase your risk developing AD and should be avoided and controlled.
There is a growing body of research looking at lowering inflammation to help prevent getting AD or at least slow the progression of the disease process. Researchers still have a lot to learn about the effects of cannabis and cannabidiol on the brain. The real question is will CBD oil act similarly on the brain of an AD patient as it does on a healthy brain?
There currently is no clear-cut evidence that CBD can stop, prevent or slow down the progression of AD. CBD oil has, however, been shown to treat some of the behavioral symptoms of AD such as mood swings, agitation and aggression. In 2001, scientist filed the US patent on Cannabinoids specifically for their use as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. In Molecular Neurobiology, November 2019, 11 cannabinoids were looked at for their ability to remove intraneuronal amyloid. 9 of the 11 compounds were found to be able to remove intraneuronal Aβ, reduce oxidative damage, and protect from the loss of energy or trophic support. The authors concluded that the non-psychoactive cannabinoids have the potential to be lead drug candidates for AD.
Another area of promise is CBD’s ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. In the October 2017 addition of the medical journal Acta Biochim Biophys Sinica, the authors concluded “CBD suppresses, through activation of PPARy, pro-inflammatory signaling and may be a potential new candidate for AD therapy.”
The brains of AD patients are characterized by the deposition of amyloid- β and hyperphosphorylated forms of tau protein. In Behavioral Pharmacology, April 2017, the authors concluded, “The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) possesses neuroprotective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and reduces amyloid- β production and tau hyperphosphorylation in vitro.” In another noteworthy source, Journal of Alzheimer’s Research, the authors concluded that, “Our findings provide the first evidence that CBD may have potential as a preventative treatment for AD with a particular relevance for symptoms of social withdrawal and facial recognition.”
Though current research on CBD’s direct link to improving AD is still being studied and there is much to learn, there is a growing body of evidence that is very promising and symptoms of the disease may be improved by using a quality CBD product that has been thoroughly vetted.
Dr. Rice received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Forensic Science from Baylor University before completing medical school in Arizona. He then went on to complete his Residency and was named Chief Resident of the year in Internal Medicine at Methodist Hospital in Dallas. He then worked as a hospitalist and in critical care before devoting himself 100% to outpatient medicine. Today, he owns and operates 2 full-time, cash-based Functional and Lifestyle Medicine clinics in the Dallas area. His areas of expertise include Functional Medicine and Nutrition-Based Chronic Disease Management along with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Look for more education, science, and research from Dr. Rice!
Cory S. Rice, DO