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Can CBD Help Cure Dementia? Yes!

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CBD for Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome- usually of chronic or progressive nature in which there is deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from normal aging. The current estimation of people living with or suffering from dementia is 50 million and with almost triple by 2050. Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia contributing to 60-70% of the cases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. Because CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, today’s blog will focus on its potential role in lessening the severity of symptoms associated with the disease. If you are interested in learning more, keep reading!

What Is Dementia?
Dementia is not a specific disease, but a group of conditions characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions. Symptoms include forgetfulness, limited social skills, and thinking abilities so impaired that it interferes with daily functioning. And although there are approximately 10 forms of dementia, common forms that we will be focusing on in today’s blog include: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

CBD For Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be the leading cause of dementia and is what most people think of when they hear the term “dementia”. It is a disease that progresses over time, impairing cognitive function, and is commonly accompanied by or preceded by deterioration in emotional control, social behavior or motivation.

Symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Problems writing or speaking
  • Poor judgement
  • Mood, behavioral and personality changes

 
How can CBD help?
CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation, oxygen buildup and brain cell decline. And by lessening the severity of these factors and improving brain function, certain symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may be mitigated.
 
2011 study by Australian researchers Tim Karl and Carl Group found that CBD promotes the growth and development of brain cells, which were shown to reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions.

2017 review found that because cannabidiol (CBD) possesses neuroprotective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it may be an effective therapeutic intervention for Alzheimer’s disease. 

CBD For Vascular Dementia 
Vascular dementia is a result of brain damage caused by multiple strokes. Symptoms vary based on the area of the brain affected but often does begin with poor judgement and reasoning, with loss of memory occurring at later stages. 

Other symptoms include:

  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty thinking and understanding, or inability to create new memories
  • Agitation or behavioral symptoms
  • Problems walking, having frequent falls


How can CBD help?
2016 study published in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences found that activating CB2 (cannabinoid) receptors in the brain of animal models helped improve blood flow to the brain. 

“Activating the CB2 receptors with CBD has increased brain cell activity and helped reduce brain cell damage commonly associated with vascular dementia,” states Dementia Care Central.

CBD For Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) that affects movement and often causes tremors. An article published by WebMD states, “People with Parkinson’s disease get this type of dementia about 50% to 80% of the time. On average, the symptoms of dementia develop about 10 years after a person first gets Parkinson’s.” 

Lewy bodies are found on several brain disorders and evidence suggests that Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia may be linked to the same underlying abnormalities in the brain processing of alpha-synuclein.

Common symptoms:

  • Changes in memory, judgement and concentration
  • Trouble interpreting visual information
  • Muffled speech
  • Paranoid ideas, anxiety, depression and irritability
  • Sleep disturbances


How can CBD help?
2017 study found that CBD acts as an inverse antagonist in GPR3 and GPR6 receptors, leading to potential therapeutic effects on movement impairments when using it to ease symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

2019 review investigated whether or not CBD is an ideal drug to treat non-motor Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Researchers found four randomized controlled trials showing CBD to be well tolerated and seven preclinical models of PD using CBD, with six showing neuroprotective properties of CBD. Three additional studies were discovered that reported significant therapeutic effects in non-motor symptoms (psychosis, rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, daily activities, and stigma).

CBD For Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s disease is an inherited condition where nerve cells in the brain breakdown over time. Although an individual may be born with the gene, symptoms don’t typically start until a person’s 30s or 40s. 

Common symptoms:

  • Issues with thinking and reasoning
  • Issues with concentration, memory and judgement
  • Issues with planning an organizing

 
How can CBD help?
A controlled clinical trial published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior evaluated CBD for symptomatic efficacy and safety in 15 neuroleptic-free patients with Huntington’s Disease (HD). The effects of oral CBD (10 mg/kg/day for 6 weeks) and placebo (sesame oil for 6 weeks) were ascertained weekly under a double-blind, randomized cross-over design. This study showed that the cannabinoid was safe but did not affect the severity of symptoms associated with this disease. Higher doses may be necessary to yield greater therapeutic results.

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