Alzheimer’s disease has no cure. So, if you or one of your loved ones has Alzheimer’s disease, then it is just right that you search for better ways to manage the symptoms of this condition. Are you wondering if you can use medical marijuana for Alzheimer’s disease? You are not alone. To bring an end to your curiosity, we have come up with this detailed article that tells you all you need to know about medical marijuana and Alzheimer’s disease.

We’ll talk about the causes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, how medical marijuana helps Alzheimer’s disease, what strain works best, and so much more.

medical marijuana and alzheimer's disease

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes the brain to shrink and eventually leads to the death of brain cells. This disease affects memory, thinking, and behavior and is considered the most common cause of dementia. 

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and the symptoms of dementia gradually worsen over the years. In the early stages, the loss of memory in Alzheimer’s disease is mild. However, as it progresses to the later stage, patients with Alzheimer’s lose their ability to respond to their environment.

According to reports, approximately 5.8 million people in the US 65 years or older live with this disease. Approximately50 million people worldwide have dementia, and about 60% to 70% of them have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is also currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. 

If diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the average period the person lives is 4 to 8 years. However, people live as long as 20 years, depending on several other factors.

Symptoms and Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from person to person; however, there are a few common symptoms to be aware of. 

Loss of memory is the most common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Early symptoms include difficulty remembering recent conversations or events. With the progression of the disease, the memory impairment gets worse, and other symptoms begin to surface. 

Alzheimer’s disease causes changes to your brain, which makes it challenging to carry out several functions. It isn’t uncommon for people to have memory lapses once in a while, but the memory lapse which comes with Alzheimer’s disease is persistent and worse. It could lead to getting lost in familiar places, forgetting conversations or events, forgetting the names of family members, and routinely misplacing possessions.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Trouble with concentrating and thinking, mainly with abstract concepts like numbers
  • Complications with routine activities such as cooking a meal, playing your favorite game
  • Forgetting how to perform the seemingly basic tasks like getting dressed
  • Mood and behavior changes and complications such as depression, wandering, delusions, mood swings, apathy, and social withdrawal
  • Aggression and agitation 

But What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood. However, scientists believe a combination of different factors such as genetic, environmental, and lifestyle — which affects the brain — causes Alzheimer’s disease in most people. 

The damage it causes to the brain often starts in the parts responsible for memory control. The damage begins several years before you experience the first symptoms. Alzheimer’s is characterized by the failure of the brain proteins to function normally, and it damages the proteins, causes them to lose their connection, and leads to the eventual death of these proteins.

Some risk factors increase the chances that someone would get Alzheimer’s disease. One of such is age. Alzheimer’s disease isn’t a normal part of aging; however, chances of getting this disease increase as you get older. Your family history and genetics are also risk factors because your risk of developing the disease is higher if your first-degree relative, either parent or sibling, has the disease.

Also, those who have had any case of severe head trauma have an increased likelihood of developing this disease. Air pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, poor sleep patterns, lifestyle choices such as smoking, high blood pressure, poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, and obesity are other risk factors.

How Does Medical Marijuana Help Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to a preclinical study, small doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical found in marijuana, can slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins. Beta-amyloid proteins are one of the key contributors to the progression of Alzheimer’s. 

Another study also found that THC and some other compounds present in marijuana can reduce the amount of beta-amyloid proteins found in the brain. According to this study, when beta-amyloid proteins get exposed to THC, it reduces their levels in the brain, stops the inflammatory response from the nerve cells caused by the beta-amyloid proteins, and allows the nerve cells to survive. According to the United Kingdom’s Alzheimer’s society, cannabis or its components can counteract symptoms such as agitation and aggression.

However, the Alzheimer’s Association in the United States has stated that marijuana is still an untested drug for Alzheimer’s disease. Its potential effectiveness and safety profile have not been thoroughly evaluated in clinical trials in people with or at risk for Alzheimer’s. Researchers have also noted that further research still needs to be conducted on the potential of medical marijuana for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Indica or Sativa for Alzheimer’s Disease?

The preferred strain to use for Alzheimer’s disease seems to depend on the most common symptoms you experience. Indicas and sativas both present their own unique characteristics, though it mainly depends on the strain and terpenes.

Sativa strains enhance your cognitive function, and so they’re helpful if you want a boost in stimulation and be fully engaged in conversations. If you find that your Alzheimer’s has left you depressed and unmotivated, potent sativa strains are lovely for putting a smile on your face and a spring back in your step. 

If your symptoms revolve more around the inability to sleep or loss of appetite, the indica strain would be best. Indicas help you sleep better, improve your eating patterns, and provide you a nice dose of full-body relaxation. For those who are often uptight and stressed surrounding Alzheimer’s symptoms, indicas may be the decompression you need. 

A hybrid of indica-sativa is also a great alternative because it offers you the benefits of both indicas and sativas. They’re the best of both worlds!

So, when looking for the right medical marijuana strain for Alzheimer's, take a step back and consider your symptoms. Then, research some strains at your local dispensary and see what kind of effects they tend to produce. This is a great way to see if they help with what you require. 

medical marijuana and alzheimer's

CBD Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease

CBD oil does not have the intoxicative properties of THC, and it can help reduce the damage caused by inflammation and improve the mood of Alzheimer’s patients. Cannabidiol products like oils help to boost cognitive activity and repair brain cells. Additionally, it protects Alzheimer’s patients from neurotoxicity and minimizes oxidative stress.

A study found that a two-week course of high doses of CBD helped restore the function of two proteins in the body, which reduced the build-up of beta-amyloid proteins and improved cognition in an experimental model of early-onset familial Alzheimer’s. 

Some studies have also shown that the symptoms of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) decreased with CBD.

Also, in recent research, CBD has been shown to help reduce the impact of inflammation, oxygen build-up, and brain cells’ death. In another study, researchers increased IL-33 and TREM2 in the brain and maintained cognitive functions by eliminating the dead cells and clearing the beta-amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. (It is worth noting researchers conducted this test on mice.) 

After a regular injection of CBD in the mice with Alzheimer’s, they noticed a significant change in their ability to tell the difference between objects. Though animal-tested, the results proved significantly promising for people with Alzheimer’s as well. And, since CBD cannot get you high, it’s an excellent option for those looking to avoid THC. 

Should I Try Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Medical marijuana cannot cure Alzheimer’s. However, an increasing body of evidence shows that medical marijuana can help you better manage the symptoms, especially aggression and agitation. 

It’s truly no wonder that several states in the USA have Alzheimer’s disease on their lists of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. If you’re curious, you can get your medical marijuana card for Alzheimer’s in the following places: 

Suppose you live in any state where Alzheimer’s is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. From there, you’ll need to get a recommendation from a qualified physician that states cannabis may benefit you. But, where do you find doctors like these?

How Can I Get A Medical Marijuana Card?

Here at Elevate Holistics, we have a team of well-trained medical marijuana doctors dedicated to helping you get your medical marijuana card for Alzheimer’s (or any other qualifying condition) in the easiest way possible. 

We’ll work with you one-on-one, all online, to help you get the medical recommendation you need. And you’ll never have to leave the comfort of your home. Regardless of if you’re in the big city or rural backcountry, Elevate Holistics can help you enjoy medical marijuana for Alzheimer’s disease. 

So, if you are resident in Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, or Missouri, book an appointment today and let us help you on the journey to enjoying a better quality of life.