How to Use CBD for Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
The number of people living with Alzheimers is growing rapidly—in fact, every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimers disease (AD). Many are familiar with the symptoms of this disease, which include memory loss and confusion. However, the limited effectiveness of current therapies against AD has spurred further research into developing new agents for preventing and slowing the disease process. In this article, we’ll analyze the latest research to see if CBD provides a viable alternative to traditional treatments for AD and dementia. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from AD and dementia. We will address the results below.
A 2004 study highlighted the neuroprotective effects of CBD they relate to AD. “Alzheimer's disease is widely held to be associated with oxidative stress due, in part, to the membrane action of beta-amyloid peptide aggregates…Our results indicate that cannabidiol exerts a combination of neuroprotective, anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects against beta-amyloid peptide toxicity…” In other words, CBD helps prevent the onset of AD by limiting the effects of beta-amyloid peptide toxicity, the major cause of the disease.
Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15030397
A 2012 study evaluated the therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system for Alzheimers disease. “Based on the complex pathology of AD, a preventative, multimodal drug approach targeting a combination of pathological AD symptoms appears ideal. Importantly, cannabinoids show anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antioxidant properties and have immunosuppressive effects. Thus, the cannabinoid system should be a prime target for AD therapy…Furthermore, the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol is of particular interest as it lacks the psychoactive and cognition-impairing properties of other cannabinoids.”
Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22448595
A 2014 study found that long-term CBD treatment prevents the development of social recognition memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. “Control and AD transgenic mice were treated orally from 2.5 months of age with CBD (20 mg/kg) daily for 8 months…This study is the first to demonstrate CBD's ability to prevent the development of a social recognition deficit in AD transgenic mice. 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.”
Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25024347
A 2017 study looked at the evidence for therapeutic properties of CBD for Alzheimers Disease. The studies “demonstrate the ability of CBD to reduce reactive gliosis and the neuroinflammatory response as well as to promote neurogenesis. Importantly, CBD also reverses and prevents the development of cognitive deficits in AD rodent models. Interestingly, combination therapies of CBD and THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis sativa, show that CBD can antagonize the psychoactive effects associated with THC and possibly mediate greater therapeutic benefits than either phytocannabinoid alone. The studies provide “proof of principle” that CBD and possibly CBD-THC combinations are valid candidates for novel AD therapies. Further investigations should address the long-term potential of CBD and evaluate mechanisms involved in the therapeutic effects described.”
Another 2017 study evaluated CBD’s effect on the expression of Alzheimer’s Disease-related genes in stem cells. “CBD pre-treatment in GMSCs [mesenchymal stem cells derived from gingival] modulated the transcriptional profile of these cells by attenuating the expression of genes implicated in the etiopathogenesis of AD. In conclusion, this preliminary in vitro study has demonstrated that GMSCs preconditioned with CBD have better therapeutic potential compared to CTR-GMSCs cells, and we believe that their transplantation in the early stage of AD may play a role in preventing or attenuating the disease onset.”
A 2018 study demonstrates for the first time that “cannabidiol (CBD) acts to protect synaptic plasticity in an in vitro model of Alzheimer's disease…Our data suggests that this major component of Cannabis sativa, which lacks psychoactivity may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of AD.”
Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29574668
As indicated by the studies above, CBD has neuroprotective properties that are effective in preventing and treating AD and dementia.
Recommended CBD Regimen for Alzheimer's Disease
When formulating a CBD regimen for a specific disease or illness like Alzheimer's disease, it’s important to understand that CBD should be used regularly for maximum relief. Meaning it should be used as a preventative first – it can also be used to manage acute symptom flare ups, but the preventative maintenance is most important! Think about it like any other dietary supplement or medication, you want to establish a baseline concentration in your system.
In order to manage the symptoms associated with AD and dementia, we recommend ingesting full spectrum CBD oil daily in the form of Tinctures or Gel Capsules. The ingredients in the two products are the same; the only difference between the two is the form factor and dosage – pills vs. sublingual tinctures. We suggest those suffering from Alzheimer's disease start with 15mg per day of CBD. If relief is not felt at this dosage, we suggest increasing by 5-10mg until the desired effects are achieved. You’ll notice that the Gel Capsules are pre-filled and contain either 15mg or 25mg of CBD per pill. There is no harm in starting above the 15mg CBD threshold as you cannot overdose on CBD, nor are there any serious side effects. These ingestible products provide sustained symptom relief for several hours – many people find they provide relief for the whole day! The one thing to keep in mind with ingestible CBD products is the delayed onset time – it can take up to 90 minutes for the full effects of the tinctures or capsules to be felt.
Managing Acute Symptom Flare Ups
In addition to the daily Alzheimer's disease management program outlined above, many people find they still need a safe way to manage acute flare ups. Regardless of the triggers, we recommend vaporizing CBD to combat these acute AD and dementia flare ups. The benefit of vaporizing or dabbing CBD is that the relief can be felt almost instantaneously. We suggest either the 99% pure CBD isolate or the pre-filled CBD vaporizer cartridges because they provide a wave of relief that can be felt throughout the whole body.
A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing
Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception. There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, and the ones available paint a rather murky picture: avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce the risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate that risk entirely.
If you are concerned about your loved one's ability to pass a drug test, you’ll need to consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for them. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize the risk of a false positive.