Recent discoveries on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have led researchers to focus on cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential treatment for the disease.
CBD has been shown to reverse cognitive deficits of AD transgenic mice, while exerting neuroprotective, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have also found that CBD can modify the levels and activity of oxidants and antioxidants (30% – 50% more than vitamin E or C) – meaning it can reduce oxidative stress brought on by AD.
New Alzheimer’s discoveries
AD is a chronic degenerative brain disease that causes a slow degeneration of neurons, leading to disorders of recent memory, then a gradual loss of cognitive function and autonomy.
The disease is also the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, with around 50 million people worldwide suffering from dementia compatible with AD.
That figure is expected to double in Europe and triple worldwide by the year 2050.
Recent studies have put old theories to the sword over the origin of AD, with researchers now believing that oxidative stress and neuroinflammation are responsible for the onset of the disease – rather than the build up of amyloid plaque, which was previously thought to be the cause.
Oxidative stress is a pathological mechanism that can already be found in many other neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases; it can even be found in diseases like cancer.
It is believed to be defined as a result of an imbalance between the production of oxidizing molecules and antioxidant defenses.
Lifestyle choices such as a poor diet, smoking, and pollution could play an important role in the onset of oxidative stress.
Neuroinflammation, on the other hand, is a result of systemic inflammation of the body (called “low grade”), which then spreads to the brain and causes neuronal damage.
Again, the onset of these inflammatory conditions can be brought about by lifestyle choices, and also by conditions such as obesity or type II diabetes.
CBD or THC?
Studies have shown that CBD could be an extremely effective treatment for AD, as it has been found to reduce neuroinflammation while improving cognitive and memory functions.
A 2019 review found that CBD might be useful to treat and prevent AD, and that using CBD and THC together could be more useful than using CBD or THC alone.
Clinical trials will begin shortly and will involve volunteers suffering from AD – the study will aim to evaluate the impact of CBD on the evolution of the disease and the clinical state of patients.
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