Wellness and Research

CBD Alzheimer’s Trials

Asia Mayfield
Written by Asia Mayfield

Cannabidiol (CBD)’s neuroprotective potential is under investigation by medical researchers.

Multiple scientists focus on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), an illness marked by its debilitating neurodegenerative effects. There isn’t enough data to state definitively that CBD can help Alzheimer’s patients. However, as one research team notes, the “studies provide ‘proof of principle’ that CBD and possibly CBD-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) combinations are valid candidates for novel AD therapies. Further investigations should address the long-term potential of CBD…”[1]

AD is the most common form of dementia in the world. It’s estimated that 115 million people will be affected by 2015.[2] As the disease progresses, patients lose the ability to take care of themselves. Current AD treatments are limited. “There are four approved drugs available… Unfortunately, all of them have been associated with adverse effects.”[1] The need for novel treatments is propelling research into CBD and Alzheimer’s. One study injected mice with human Aβ42, the protein mutation responsible for familial AD. The mice were then treated with CBD for seven days. The treatment produced numerous effects and biological markers associated with AD were significantly reduced.[3]

Another study examined the effects of CBD on cognitive decline. Again, mice were injected with human AD proteins and treated with CBD. This time, however, researchers tested the mice’s spatial learning and awareness with a water maze. CBD reversed the cognitive decline associated with AD.[4]

This promising research inspired more. Currently, additional clinical studies are diving into the possible relationship between cannabinoids and Alzheimer’s. Some of these studies are using human rather than animal subjects, in part because 2018’s Farm Bill made high-quality CBD easier to access.

Many of the CBD and AD studies that have already been conducted give evidence that CBD is not the only cannabinoid capable of having an effect on the disease. Researchers are also looking into the effects of THC as well as THC and CBD combined.

Image source: Air Force Medical

References:

  1. Watt, Georgia, and Tim Karl. “In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s Disease.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 8 20. 3 Feb. 2017
  2. Wisniewski, Thomas, and Fernando Goñi. “Immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease.” Biochemical pharmacology vol. 88,4 (2014): 499-507
  3. Esposito, G et al. “Cannabidiol in vivo blunts beta-amyloid induced neuroinflammation by suppressing IL-1beta and iNOS expression.” British journal of pharmacology vol. 151,8 (2007): 1272-9
  4. Martín-Moreno, Ana María et al. “Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids reduce microglial activation in vitro and in vivo: relevance to Alzheimer’s disease.” Molecular pharmacology vol. 79,6 (2011): 964-73

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Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield

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