CBD has entered the mainstream within the last half-decade or so. This is attributed not only to a limited amount of research that shows it may provide health benefits for medical conditions such as anxiety, arthritis, insomnia, and inflammation but also due to the anecdotal evidence that many people have discovered from using CBD. One of these benefits that CBD might offer is relief from dementia.
While people have found that CBD may benefit their conditions, additional research is needed to understand why CBD may provide these benefits, along with knowing what the short and long-term efficacy of utilizing CBD may provide.
Although, there have been numerous studies completed many more are needed, including potential benefits that CBD oil may provide for Dementia.
In this article, CBD School will explain what Dementia is, and what is currently known about the benefits CBD may provide for those who are suffering from this debilitating disease.
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What is Dementia?
Dementia is actually an umbrella term for a wide range of conditions that affect one’s daily life, and the ability to care for oneself. Some of the common conditions are loss of memory, a decline in the ability to think properly, aggressiveness, and agitation.
While Dementia could affect people at a younger age, the age group of people between the ages of 55 – 90 is the one that is usually associated with Dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia, however, there is a short list of disorders that fall under the umbrella term Dementia.
Below we will explain what each of these is.
Accounting for 60% – 80% of Dementia cases, Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by specific changes in the brain. The disease progressively gets worse, and one of the common signs is that someone has repeated short-term memory loss. This may show in the form of not remembering a conversation that happened a few minutes ago, or possibly earlier in the day.
The next most common type is Vascular Dementia which roughly 10% of Dementia patients have. This disorder happens due to minuscule amounts of blood and blood vessel blockage in the brain. Symptoms that are common are strokes and mini-strokes.
Lewy Body Dementia
On top of memory loss symptoms, those that suffer from Lewy Body Dementia also experience balance and overall movement issues. Some experience muscle stiffness or trembling, while possibly having trouble falling asleep, along with possible hallucinations.
The symptoms associated with this type of Dementia are someone saying inappropriate or out-of-character comments or behaving out of character.
This type of Dementia is exactly what it sounds like when someone has multiple types of Dementia. This is not always easy to diagnose since many symptoms overlap, and sadly if someone has Mixed Dementia the disease may progress quicker than having a singular type of Dementia.
Can CBD Oil Treat Dementia or its Symptoms?
Sadly, research about the potential benefits of CBD and Dementia is quite sparse. There have been a couple of studies completed that didn’t prove or disprove much about the efficacy of CBD and its ability to assist in the treatment of Dementia.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing hemp, and while this has allowed the CBD industry to explode, the industry is in somewhat of a gray area when it comes to the FDA and regulation.
In 2021 the study titled Cannabinoids for the treatment of Dementia said that “We found low-certainty evidence suggesting there may be little or no clinically important effect of cannabinoids on overall behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory.”1
The same study came to the conclusion, similar to other studies that have been done around the subject of CBD, that “Adequately powered, methodologically robust trials with longer follow-up are needed to properly assess the effects of cannabinoids in dementia.”1
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While it’s a bit early to understand what the potential CBD could have on patients with Dementia there are a few positive signs between the symptoms, of those that have Dementia, and what CBD has shown to potentially treat.
These include inflammation which is a symptom of many conditions including Alzheimer’s. Since inflammation elevates the impact, in a negative way, of Alzheimer’s Disease it is a good sign that CBD can assist those who are dealing with inflammation.
As mentioned above Vascular Dementia affects the blood from flowing properly, among other symptoms. CBD has shown potential in helping blood flow within the body, again a positive sign.2
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Is There Research to Support CBD Oil Helping The Brain?
In 2019 a study at King’s College used an oral spray called Sativex on 60 participants from nursing homes in the United Kingdom.
Sativex was originally approved, in the UK and US, to treat people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and each dose has about 2.5mg THC and 2.5mg CBD. The relief that people get from using Sativex for MS is for the patient to find relief from joint pain.
The symptom the researchers had intended to find out if the drug worked on people with Dementia was to treat agitation and aggressiveness. These are two symptoms that the brain can start to develop in later stages.
The lead researcher Chris Albertyn noted that “In each one of those sprays, you get about 2.5 milligrams of THC and 2.5 milligrams of CBD. It’s important to note that the CBD isn’t actually having a therapeutic effect in itself. It’s augmenting and working synergistically with the THC component.”3
While we haven’t been able to find the results at the time of publishing this article, it’s a positive sign that researchers are setting out to see if a currently approved drug will have a similarly beneficial effect on treating Dementia symptoms.
Another study completed in 2021 came to the conclusion that “Our findings suggest that CBD treatment enhanced IL-33 and TREM2 expression, ameliorated the symptoms of AD, and retarded cognitive decline.”4
ScienceDaily which reviewed the findings of this study explained further that the researchers found that “A two-week course of high doses of CBD helps restore the function of two proteins key to reducing the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, and improves cognition in an experimental model of early-onset familial Alzheimer’s.”5
Yet again, a very positive sign of the potential efficacy of CBD on Dementia symptoms.
Side Effects of Using CBD Oil
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Although there are mild side effects that are associated with consuming CBD, the side effects usually occur when someone has consumed too much CBD. To assist in the prevention of receiving any side effects from CBD it is recommended that you take some time to determine what is the ideal dosage of CBD for yourself.
Some of the side effects associated with CBD, according to the Mayo Clinic are dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue.6 Even the best CBD oil tinctures can give a small fraction of people these side effects.
Summary – CBD and Dementia
While there hasn’t been a sufficient amount of research completed to show the short and long-term efficacy of CBD and the treatment of Dementia, the research that has been completed is somewhat promising that CBD may assist in alleviating some of the symptoms associated with the disease.
If you are a loved one has Dementia it is best to consult with your doctor about ways to treat the disease.
1Bosnjak Kuharic, D., Markovic, D., Brkovic, T., Jeric Kegalj, M., Rubic, Z., Vuica Vukasovic, A., Jeroncic, A., & Puljak, L. (2021). Cannabinoids for the treatment of dementia. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 9(9), CD012820. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012820.pub2
2Benyó, Z., Ruisanchez, É., Leszl-Ishiguro, M., Sándor, P., & Pacher, P. (2016). Endocannabinoids in cerebrovascular regulation. American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology, 310(7), H785–H801. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00571.2015
3Kan, D. (2022, May 13). Oral Cannabis Spray Sativex tested for dementia in major trial. Being Patient. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.beingpatient.com/oral-cannabis-spray-sativex-dementia/#:~:text=The%20team%20will%20use%20Sativex,come%20with%20dangerous%20side%20effects.
4Khodadadi, H., Salles, É. L., Jarrahi, A., Costigliola, V., Khan, M. B., Yu, J. C., Morgan, J. C., Hess, D. C., Vaibhav, K., Dhandapani, K. M., & Baban, B. (2021). Cannabidiol Ameliorates Cognitive Function via Regulation of IL-33 and TREM2 Upregulation in a Murine Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD, 80(3), 973–977. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-210026
5ScienceDaily. (2021, March 9). CBD reduces plaque, improves cognition in model of Familial Alzheimer’s. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210309192548.htm
6Bauer, B. A. (2020, December 18). CBD: Safe and effective? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700