Cannabis is a controversial topic in the medical industry. Some doctors are entirely onboard as they understand the benefits of medical marijuana, while other doctors express extreme caution in regards to marijuana treatments and are still expressing negative thoughts towards the topic.
As some researchers and companies continue to explore the drug as a solution to treat terminal illnesses, such as GW Pharmaceuticals, who recently received approval for a CBD drug (Epidiolex) that treats two rare forms of epilepsy. Other companies and research pioneers are trying to figure out whether medical marijuana can contribute to cure other illnesses and diseases. One of those diseases is Alzheimer’s.
What Is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
What’s important to understand about Alzheimer’s is that it is not a normal part of aging, it worsens over time, and as of now, it has no cure!
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 5 million Americans are battling Alzheimer’s and it is a leading cause of death. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still a mystery, although doctors do assume that it is related to one of the following:
- Family history
- Simply from getting older
- Previous severe head injuries
- Lifestyle factors and conditions associated with vascular disease
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition. It continues to get worse as you age. During the early stages of Alzheimer’s you may experience:
- Memory problems
- Recognition problems
- Difficulty with speech
As Alzheimer’s disease develops, other symptoms include:
- Personality or behavioral changes
Is Cannabis an Effective Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease?
Over the last couple of years, the topic of Alzheimer’s and cannabis has entered headlines as researchers are now shedding some light on how medical marijuana could help patients.
To be specific, the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is now thought to be an effective treatment due to its ability to remove amyloid from the brain. Amyloid is a toxic component which builds up like a plaque in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.
Another component of the disease is the inflammation that occurs as the brain reacts to the formation of amyloid. One of marijuana’s main benefits is said to be providing relief from inflammation.
In a recent article published in the Daily Mail, the following findings were released:
- THC helps remove amyloid beta from cells.
- Amyloid beta protein is the main component of plaques that cause Alzheimer’s.
- Scientists now assume the protein causes inflammation which damages nerve cells.
- By exposing nerve cells to THC, scientists can eliminate inflammation.
Professor David Schubert, the principal author of a Salk Institute paper mentioned, “Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our marijuana study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells.”
Although current research is still not conclusive and patients are waiting for a proven medical marijuana cure to hit the shelves, recent cannabis studies are promising and are showing a step in the right direction. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease and marijuana is one of them.
Best Marijuana Strains for Treating Alzheimer’s
Purple Kush (Indica Marijuana Strain)
Purple Kush is an indica marijuana hybrid strain. It is well known for having purple leaves and dense bud. This marijuana strain is potent, delivering high levels of THC (around 17%). This cannabis strain is often used as a nighttime medicine as it induces a long-lasting calm effect that promotes body relaxation. Its medicinal benefits could possibly treat a variety of conditions including insomnia and depression. Purple Kush may also help to relieve frustrations and mood swings related to Alzheimer’s.
OG Kush (Hybrid Marijuana Strain)
This strain is a powerhouse and is thought to help relieve symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s. Depending on where you get this strain, OG Kush can contain up to 26% THC and around 0-0.3% CBD. It is thought to originate from Chemdawg and Hindu Kush, but this strain has gone through so many evolutions that it is hard to tell. Patients more commonly use OG Kush to treat migraines, ADD/ADHD and stress but it is occasionally recommended to Alzheimer’s patients depending on the level of progression of the condition and the symptoms that the patient is experiencing.
Sour Diesel (Sativa Dominant Marijuana Strain)
Sour Diesel is one of those marijuana strains that you’ll find on every list. Sour Diesel, a.k.a. Sour D. is a sativa dominant strain that delivers a fast energizing, relieving impact. It is used for stress, pain, and depression but due to its uplifting effects, it may also have a positive impact on mood swings that are typical with Alzheimer’s.
Green Crack (Sativa Dominant Marijuana Hybrid)
Green Crack is the ultimate happy strain. Filled with THC goodness of up to 25%, this strain makes you feel better the minute you start to consume it. Its fruity, tropical, citrus flavor and ability to give you a boost of happy energy will make you bounce off the walls. This marijuana strain is great for a down morning or rough day. Please note that this strain stimulates appetite, so get ready to eat plenty.
Acapulco Gold (Sativa Dominant Hybrid Marijuana Strain)
One of the worlds most well-known cannabis strains, Acapulco Gold is recommended by most dispensaries as a treatment for several medical conditions including Alzheimer’s. The cannabis strain comes from the areas in and around Acapulco, Mexico. Its orange hairs resemble a gold nugget with gold, green, and brown colors of resin collecting on the buds. Acapulco Gold is known for being one of the best medical cannabis strains, but due to its unique required growing conditions, it is becoming more difficult to find.
Moving Forward with Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease
While medical marijuana is thought to be an effective treatment for certain Alzheimer’s conditions, research is still at the early stages. It is important to watch out for generic sativa/indica mixes, as not all strains will be of help. Some marijuana strains can even worsen the condition. The cannabis strain you are using to combat Alzheimer’s MUST have the proper THC/CBD ratio as an improper ratio can aggravate involved brain receptors and may cause harm. Please consult with a marijuana doctor before using medical cannabis for any condition. We are not medical experts and therefore none of this article should be taken as medical advice.
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