September 05, 2019 5 min read

CBD is being used all over the world for conditions causing inflammation, pain, anxiety, and more, and most people who use CBD are delighted at its benefits and itslack of side effects. In fact, it's low-risk profile is one reason that CBD is frequently considered when looking for an option to treat many of these conditions in seniors. That, in combination with CBD's known neuroprotective properties, hasled many researchers to launch studies regarding the effects of cannabis-based medicines on certain forms of dementia, especially Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Could CBD be a suitable treatment for the neurodegenerative condition? Science says it's very possible, but let's cover the facts first.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's Disease is a form of dementia that is characterized by problems with memory, cognition, and behavior. It is most common in people over the age of 65 but can develop in younger adults as well. It usually progresses slowly and eventually reaches a point where it interferes with daily tasks. Patients with advanced stages of Alzheimer's often require full-time care, as the disease interferes with their ability to individually manage daily tasks.

Alzheimer's Disease is a condition affecting the brain's processes on a cellular level. Researchers are not yet sure where the damage starts, but have confirmed that the brain's nerve cells, called neurons, begin to change on a microscopic level even before signs of memory loss can be detected. Eventually, the condition interferes with the brain cells' ability to function as they should. As one or two neurons lose function, they set off a string of reactions with other brain cells, eventually disrupting many different neurological processes. After a while of improper functioning, neurons die and cannot be recovered. 

The disease has no known cure at this time but is sometimes treated with prescription medications that may slow the progression of the disease. These medications may slow down the progression of the disease, but often only do so for abouthalf of patients who take them, and come with some potential adverse side effects, like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, and more. 

How Can CBD Help with Alzheimer's Disease?

As of now, research regarding the specific effects of CBD on Alzheimer's disease is still limited. One study, however, may have led to the interest in CBD for Alzheimer's. The study says thatCBD has neuroprotective properties, which could help prevent and manage certain neurological disorders potentially even neurodegenerative diseases. Research also identifies a direct link between the body’sendocannabinoid system and neurodegeneration in AD, and highlights the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressing effects of cannabinoids. CBD may help reduce inflammation caused by oxidative stress within the brain, one of the main symptoms of AD resulting in brain tissue damage. Further research shows thatCBD reduces beta-amyloid expression or the phenomenon related to “plaque build-up” in the brain of AD patients. The same study suggests that CBD also increases the survival rate of neurons, therefore slowing the progression of the disease. 

Anotherstudy shows cannabidiol’s potential at preventing certain symptoms of the disorder, like social and facial recognition, which can often be the root of a patient’s mistrust or nervousness with family, friends, or caregivers. In some small (therefore mostly inconclusive) studies, synthetic cannabinoids were shown to effectively manageagitation and aggression, two more symptoms of AD that can pose an issue for family and caretakers. 

More research regarding the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids is necessary to understand the full potential of the plant-based supplement. However, many studies highlight cannabidiol’s lack of psychoactive properties and suggest that the low-risk profile, coupled with the existing evidence, may make it a suitable option for many patients suffering from AD. 

Options for Using CBD for Alzheimer's Disease

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and are interested in using CBD to combat the effects, you should talk with your doctor. In many cases, your physician may be able to help you work CBD in alongside existing medications. In other cases, CBD may be used as a primary or solitary treatment for AD, while keeping a close eye on the effects and benefits throughout the treatment. 

If you decide to use CBD for Alzheimer’s Disease, you should recognize that there are many different delivery methods. Some may be preferred by most AD patients, especially considering many patients are advanced in age, easily agitated, or otherwise adverse to “unconventional” dosing methods.

One CBD dosing method that may work well for AD patients is theCBD capsule, or a pill form of cannabidiol, often accompanied by some form of MCT oil, which is necessary for the body to effectively absorb and process CBD. These capsules come in many forms but are often the easiest way to include CBD in an AD patient’s routine without too much upset. 

Additionally, CBD edibles may also be an effective delivery method for AD patients. These edibles come in many different forms as well, likeCBD gummies,CBD infused peanut butter orhoney, and evenCBD chocolate bars

Although sometimes less popular for the management of AD symptoms, CBD tinctures may also offer a suitable option. These tinctures come in liquid form and are dropped under the tongue, then swallowed. This delivery method is often considered more effective because it allows CBD to be absorbed by blood vessels under the tongue, which can help bypass some parts of the metabolic process in which CBD is degraded. This method is also handy because it allows you to individually measure the CBD dose each time, which is perfect for patients who are experimenting to find the best CBD dose for them.

CBD for Alzheimer's Dosage

Unfortunately, more research is needed to understand the proper dosage amounts of CBD for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. It is likely that, like most medications, there is no one-size-fits-all dose for cannabidiol. However, the natural supplement has very few side effects and has been shown to be non-toxic even in incredibly high doses. For this reason, people can often comfortable “experiment” to find the best CBD dose for Alzheimer’s Disease. 

You can do so by using the start-low-and-go-slow approach with CBD. This means using small doses (sometimes as low as 5mg, or potentially ranging from 1-5mg per 10 pounds of body weight) and gradually increasing the dose every 2-3 days. Recording the effects in a journal helps to track any potential side effects, and gives a great frame of reference when discussing your CBD experience with your doctor. 

In most cases, your doctor will be able to provide better information on CBD dosing for Alzheimer’s, since he or she can utilize information on your personal health profile when helping you create a cannabidiol routine. You should always consult your doctor before beginning a new medication or supplement, especially if you plan to replace prescription medications. Check with your doctor for more information about how to get started using CBD for Alzheimer’s Disease. You may also be interested in reading “The Many Forms of CBD: Choosing the Best CBD Products for You.

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