Dementia – a serious mental condition – is increasing in volume day by day. One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Only in the USA, 12% of people who are over 65 years of age are affected by this condition.
It is a term that is used to describe various symptoms including memory loss, several issues with problem-solving, thinking, and language. These changes are usually minor when begin, but as the time passes, these problems become severe and have an adverse impact on the life quality of the patient. This condition is caused when the brain of a person is damaged by a stroke of Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms usually depend on the part of the brain that gets damaged.
People with dementia usually have the following problems:
Patients have difficulty in recalling recently occurred events.
When dementia becomes severe, an affected person is unable to remember the sequence of a task for example preparing and cooking a meal.
It is difficult for an affected person to follow a conservation.
Patients with dementia face difficulty in keeping the track of their location.
For a person who is affected by dementia may experience sudden mood changes. Unfortunately, over time this condition only gets worse.
Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, there are several others including:
• Corticobasal degeneration
• Mixed dementia
• Dementia with lewy bodies
• Frontotemporal – Pick’s disease
• Vascular dementia
• Progressive supranuclear palsy
In most cases, there is no cure for dementia. The best a patient with dementia can hope for is to live a decent life with this condition. Some drugs that are usually given to the patients of dementia are:
These drugs are designed to assist the patient with motivation, concentration, and memory in the daily life of the patient.
Various studies have shown that the risk of death from cardiovascular events increases by excessive use of sedatives. In simpler words, drugs for dementia could kill a person as easily as they help these people. This is the reason, along with the high cost of dementia drugs, people are turning towards CBD.
CBD affects a system of the human body, which is known as the endocannabinoid system. This system is comprised of receptors known as CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is present throughout the brain including the hippocampus, which is the center of memory and learning. The CB2 receptor is mainly present on specific immune cells called microglia.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in appetite regulation, memory, and response to stress. The brain in the human body naturally produces cannabinoids that affect these receptors.
You might have heard people asking the question is CBD effective for dementia?
According to a research held at California’s Salk Institute, the answer is YES.
In that study, researchers found that cannabinoids such as CBD could be helpful in removing the dangerous dementia proteins from the brain cells. According to the supervisor of the study, Professor David Schubert said that the anti-marijuana laws are a hurdle in the in-depth study of the plant.
In the study, the researchers used a small amount of synthetic cannabinoid and inject it in the mice. They discovered that the cannabinoids were successful in removing the plaque which is associated with dementia. The name of the protein is amyloid beta, and it forms the plaque that destroys the nerve cells. This study made the scientists believe that amyloid beta is behind the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
In another study, in 2015, mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease were given a combination of THC and CBD. As the result, the learning capabilities of the mice were improved and there were fewer clumps of amyloid beta in the brains of those mice.
Unfortunately, there are no widespread clinical trials in which the effects of marijuana can be observed in the human patients of dementia.
Dementia keeps progressing in patients until they can no longer care for themselves. Unfortunately, there is no proved cure for this medical condition. However, the use of CBD can slow down the progression of the disease.
Neurogenerative diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease involve inflammation of the neural tissues. In the initial stages of such a disease, inflammation is thought to be a defensive mechanism, but with the passage of time, it can be converted into an uncontrolled chain of reactions. This condition may lead to chronic neuronal deterioration and inflammation. Therefore, using CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent can slow down the progress of the disease.
In dementia, the release of reactive oxygen and oxidative stress are the important components and associated with the inflammation. When inflammation happens, oxidative oxygen is released. This not only decreases the antioxidative property of cells, but also causes the production of free radicals, and their reaction with fatty acids proteins within the cell membrane. In the presence of amyloid beta, the reactive oxygen is elevated in the adjacent cells through exchange with the cell membranes. This results in a loss of neurons and synapses within the brain and causes memory loss and various other neurological symptoms. Use of an antioxidant helps in slowing down the process.
One reason for the popularity of CBD is its role in stimulating the process of neurogenesis. With dementia, neural tissues destroy rapidly, and lead to a debilitating neurological effect like cognitive loss and memory loss, along with various severe changes in the personality. Researchers believe that the use of CBD slows down the progression of these devastating effects.
Dementia is without a doubt a very difficult medical condition to live with, not only for the patients but for their friends and family as well. Therefore, whenever there is a possibility of a new medicine for treating this condition in-depth research should be carried out.