Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that mainly occurs in adults over 65 years old, counting for over 60% of the diseases categorized as dementia.  This neurological disorder is characterized by a loss neurons and synapses in the brain, especially in the cerebral cortex.

Alzheimer's disease brain and normal brain comparison

Symptoms

The first symptom that usually occurs  is short-term memory loss. With the progression of the disease patients also experience the following symptoms:

– inability to form sentences
– difficulty in remembering words
– disorientation
– sudden mood swings,
– lack of motivation
– inability to take care of themselves
– loss of learned behaviours

Causes

There is a strong genetic factor in the development of AD with an estimated 70% of all cases occurring via many different faulty genes. The risk is also associated with diet, endocannabinoid deficiency, stress and injuries to the head.

alzheimer's plaque and fibril developement

In the brain regions of AD patients, there is an accumulation of amyloid plaques and the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein that leads to the formation of neurofibrillary tangles. The “amyloid hypothesis” suggests that the accumulation of amyloid plaques is the factor that causes the death of neuronal cells. Recently, some scientists have proposed that its the interrupted function of the mitochondria, due to a faulty gene, in the neuron cells that triggers the onset of this disease.

Treatment

Cannabinoids can reduce oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The endocannabionid tone in AD patients is not normal (CB1 receptors functionality impaired, CB2 receptors over-expressed, decrease levels of anamndamide, increase amounts of endocannabinoid degradation enzymes, increased amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL1-β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6 and TNF-α)

Patients should start with strains high in CBD as it practically impacts all of the above mentioned irregularities. CBD has also neuroprotective and neuroregenerative actions on the brain, besides being a potent anti-inflamatory agent. Besides CBD, extracts with acidic cannabinoids have also proven to have a positive effect on AD symptoms.

Tinctures or extracts can be taken orally, by placing the medicine under the tongue. Vaporisers are also used with those patients that prefer inhaling the medicine.

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