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On one hand, some medical experts believe that the cannabinoids in cannabis may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease. This is because THC and CBD prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques that disrupt cell communication in the brain.
THC and CBD also have anti-inflammatory properties and they may protect neurons from damage that results from inflammation.
Many studies suggest that cannabis can play a significant role in relieving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or even preventing it.
Plus, many individuals have also posted success stories on the Internet claiming that cannabis helped their loved ones cope with Alzheimer’s disease.
However, a number of medical experts disagree with the use of cannabis to treat Alzheimer’s. This is because THC, one of the main active ingredients in cannabis, has negative side effects. Doctors believe if patients take high doses of cannabis, THC can kill brain cells and lead to further brain damage. Other experts are also concerned that regular cannabis use may lead to addiction.
Furthermore, doctors oppose the use of cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease because they are not exactly sure how cannabis can treat Alzheimer’s. Plus, they do not know the exact dosages required to treat the disease. Therefore, experts believe that more research is needed before they can accept cannabis as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's.
Opinion in favor of taking CBD to treat Alzheimer’s disease:
Supporters of cannabis use for Alzheimer’s believe that the low doses of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant can block the enzyme that produces beta-amyloid in the brain.
Researchers believe that beta-amyloid plaques block the neurons in the brain from communicating properly, leading to Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, reducing the amount of beta-amyloid in the brain would prevent Alzheimer’s and help improve symptoms like memory loss.
Some studies support this theory. For instance, a study titled “The Potential Therapeutic Effects of THC on Alzheimer’s Disease” showed that small doses of THC available in cannabis lower the levels of beta-amyloid in the brain. Thus, it can have beneficial effects on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Although more research has been conducted on the cannabinoid THC, recently, scientists have been interested in CBD as a potential treatment for the disease. CBD and THC have a similar chemical formula. However, doctors prefer using CBD, which is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis because unlike THC, it is not addictive.
In a 2017 study, “In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer's Disease,” CBD was found to be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s because it reduced the possibility scar formation in the brain as a result of brain damage. It helped reduce inflammation in the brain, further easing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. CBD also promoted the formation of new neurons, thereby improving patients’ memory and cognitive abilities. CBD’s effects were amplified when it was used in combination with THC.
Proponents of cannabis use for Alzheimer’s believe that Big Pharma does not want to push for more research on cannabis for Alzheimer’s because the industry will lose a ton of revenue if cannabis is found to be a cure for the disease.
Experts also believe that the warnings about cannabis addiction and possible side effects are being magnified. This is especially true if one compares the side effects of cannabis effects to those of Alzheimer’s drugs because the drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s have more negative side effects than cannabis does.
Plus, current Alzheimer’s medication has been deemed ineffective in treating the condition. Supporters of cannabis use for Alzheimer’s also argue that current Alzheimer’s medication presents a much bigger threat to people’s health and has much worse side effects compared to those of cannabis.
People have posted many success stories on the Internet where individuals claim that cannabis helped their elderly parents cope with or even cure their condition.
Opinion against taking CBD to treat Alzheimer’s disease:
On the other hand, many medical experts disagree with the use of cannabis as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Opponents argue that medical marijuana should not be a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease or even any other condition due to several reasons.
First, experts argue that THC could lead to the degeneration of the brain cells, especially if people do not take the appropriate doses of it. There is also some evidence showing that long-term, heavy cannabis use can have negative effects on memory.
Doctors also point out that cannabis use has many negative side effects, including addiction. And, they caution that excessive consumption of THC makes the disease even worse.
Finally, medical experts argue that there are not enough studies on cannabis use for Alzheimer’s disease to determine its long-term effects on the brain. Plus, cannabis’s mechanism of action is also still unclear. Therefore, many medical experts do not consider cannabis to be a safe solution that can treat Alzheimer’s disease.