CBD Oil For Dementia

Dementia is a progressive syndrome, which causes deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. It mostly affects the elderly, but it is not normal part of ageing. With the wrap CBD has been getting lately for treating issues in the brain, could it be helpful in treating or reducing the risk of dementia? Read on and find out.

What is CBD?

CBD is getting more and more popular among people, as it has shown to be helpful in different ways for the body. CBD (also known as cannabinoids) is one of the many compounds that can be found in cannabis sativa plant. CBD is not psychoactive, as the other well-known for its ‘high’ effect compound THC. So this means that CBD doesn’t alter the person’s state of mind or cognition of time. CBD is known for its therapeutic value for a number of health conditions. Read more here.

Can CBD oil help dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Dementia is an overall term that is used for brain diseases and conditions characterized by a decline in memory, language and other thinks skills that affect person’s abilities to do simple everyday activities. Also, it is good to know that dementia is not a single disease, it is a group of disorders. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes severe problems with thinking, behaviour and memory. It is also the most common cause of dementia, as it accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where the symptoms of dementia gradually worsen over the years. While Alzheimer’s has no cure, there are some treatments available and the research of the cure still continues. However, the existing treatment doesn’t prevent Alzheimer’s from progressing, it just temporarily slows the worsening of dementia.

As dementia progresses, people who struggle with this disease may begin to behave differently. By the typical changes in behaviour, it usually is meant agitation including restlessness, shouting, screaming, sleep disturbance, waking up at night, etc. CBD oil has shown to be a great pain reliever. It also helps people to relax and calm down. From that we can assume that CBD oil can help with some symptoms of dementia. other studies have long produced evidence of the neuroprotective properties of cannabis compounds. For this reason, medical researchers continue to explore the viability of CBD oil for Alzheimer’s and other diseases categorized as forms of dementia.

What does CBD do to your brain?

CBD does not directly interact with the two classical cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).  Instead, it affects by signalling through CB1 and CB2 receptors indirectly. This partly explains why, in contrast to THC. In addition to its indirect influence, CBD increases levels of the body’s own naturally-produced cannabinoids (also known as endocannabinoids) by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down. When CBD reacts with a receptor such as dopamine, it can help the body produce more cannabinoids and regulate behaviour, cognition, including motivation and reward-seeking behaviour. CBD also has the ability to target a specific serotonin receptor. One of the main reasons CBD has gained notoriety is this ability y to target the serotonin receptors, which can help with disorders involving pain, depression, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, schizophrenia, and more. CBD is associated with a remarkable range of therapeutic possibilities. CBD has been known to provide relief for ailments such as inflammation, help with sleep, bone growth, seizures, and anxiety.

When a CBD substance reaches the brain after hitting the bloodstream, it influences brain activity by interacting with receptors and neurons. On top of that, when CBD reacts with opioid receptors, it can immensely reduce drug cravings or withdraw symptoms, which can be an organic way to heal your body rather than prescribing opioids. CBD also influences many non-cannabinoid receptor systems in the brain, interacting with receptors sensitive to a variety of drugs and neurotransmitters. These include opioid receptors, known for their role in pain regulation. Opioid receptors are the key targets of pharmaceutical pain killers and drugs of abuse such as morphine, heroin, and fentanyl.

CBD and brain damage: What does the research say?

Brain damage or of traumatic brain injuries usually occur as a result of a violent blow or jolt to the head or body, caused by an external force. Survivors of traumatic brain injuries face a range of long-term difficulties including physical impairment, cognitive difficulties, personality changes, and mental illness, not to mention the emotional stress endured during recovery. Most common symptoms of TBI are severe pain, low mood and energy levels, sleep disorders, muscle spasticity, convulsions and seizures, cognitive dysfunction.

Unfortunately, most treatments and medications are ineffective and come with unwanted side effects. Individuals with TBI frequently suffer from behavioural issues, anxiety, and depression. In fact, two-thirds of TBI patients receive antidepressant medications during their rehabilitation. This is where CBD may be able to help. There’s evidence it can alleviate a wide range of health conditions related to TBI – such as epileptic seizures, anxiety, sleep disorders and inflammation of the brain. The cannabinoids exert their anti-inflammatory effects in a few different ways, including: lowering glutamate-induced excitotoxicity, improving blood flow to the area to speed healing, reducing overall inflammation in the brain and preventing further destruction of the brain tissue.

Managing the symptoms of dementia

A 2017 literature review published in Frontiers in Pharmacology examined preclinical evidence for the therapeutic properties of CBD in treating Alzheimer’s disease. The authors concluded that: “The studies reviewed in this mini-review provide ‘proof of principle’ for the therapeutic benefits CBD and possibly CBD-THC combinations pose for AD therapy.” Some experts in the field of Alzheimer’s disease are approving CBD oil to soothe the anxiety that often accompanies dementia.

CBD oil has captivated the attention of the general public as well as that of major organizations, including one dedicated to supporting Alzheimer’s disease patients. Cannabidiol (CBD) has shown in some studies on rodents and other animals to reduce brain inflammation and the death of brain cells. This may, in turn, lessen the symptoms of dementia. For people who suffer from dementia, mainly the elderly people, CBD oil could provide a wave of hope for a desperate condition that takes the individual’s memory and cognition and, the most importantly, the ability to function in daily life.

While CBD is not currently considered a medical cure for any form of dementia, numerous independent studies and testimonies from real people lend credibility to the argument that CBD can considerably improve patients’ quality of life. The most common symptom in patients with severe dementia is agitated behaviour, which is usually characterized by a combination of violent behaviour (physical or verbal), restlessness, and inappropriate loudness.  Patients,  who added CBD to their diet, have reported that cannabis aids in pain relief, increased their appetite, and a sense of calm, peace of mind. According to the study called The Effect of Cannabis on Dementia Related Agitation and Aggression Elderly patients suffering from dementia that experience agitation could also benefit from other quality of life aspects of the cannabis treatment such as reduction in medication consumption, weight gain and improvement of sleep.

How to reduce the risk of dementia

The biggest risk factor for dementia is getting older, however there are some things that you can do to reduce your own risk. The effective practices that reduce the risk of dementia are: physical activity, eating healthy, stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, exercising mind by learning a foreign language, playing card games, doing quizzes, puzzles, reading, etc. However, you have to remember that there is no certain way to prevent all types of dementia, as the researchers are still investigating how the disease develops. But, there is a great evidence that a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce the risk of developing dementia when you’re older. Some dementia risk factors are age, genes and lower levels of education. Moreover, the latest research suggests that other factors, such as hearing loss, untreated depression, loneliness or social isolation, a sedentary lifestyle are also important. The research concluded that by modifying the risk factors our risk of dementia could be reduced by up to 30%.

Does CBD have side effects?

Of course, CBD has not only benefits for the human body, but also side effects. These include: diarrhea, changes in appetite and weight, fatigue, tiredness. People may react differently to CBD oil. If you take any prescription medicine, you have to consult with your doctor before starting taking CBD, as it has shown to interact with some medications. So just to be sure it will not worsen your condition, please see your medical practitioner before making any decisions.

Final verdict: Does CBD have potential to treat dementia?

Unfortunately, there are limited studies that prove products from cannabis, such as cannabis oil (CBD oil), can stop, slow, reverse or prevent the diseases that cause dementia. Also, CBD helps to deal with some of the symptoms of dementia, but not all of them. Mostly, CBD helps with restlessness, insomnia and other types of agitation. It also helps patients to improve their quality of life for some period of time, but still CBD is not considered as a treatment of dementia.

Now it’s your turn

If you have any relevant experience or know stories of the real people, please feel free to share them in our comment section. I would love to hear them and I think, it will be very useful for others who struggle with dementia. Your comments will be very appreciated!