According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s disease. 72% are age 75 or older, and 1 in 9 people age 65 and older have it.
Those are major numbers, and currently it is a major priority for researchers trying to find a cure.
And that research has included CBD oil. So, what do we know about CBD for Alzheimer’s disease?
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease. The loss of neurons and their connections in the brain affect a person’s ability to remember and think and, eventually, to live independently.
What causes Alzheimer’s disease?
Unfortunately, scientists don’t quite know yet exactly what causes Alzheimer’s disease. It’s thought that it’s probably a combination of:
- age-related changes in the brain
- lifestyle factors
What scientists do know, however, is that the disease is linked to a build-up of beta-amyloid plaques and other ‘debris’ in patients’ brains.
Two proteins in particular play a key role in protecting the brain and reducing the risk of Alzheimers:
These proteins assist the brain’s immune cells in consuming dead cells and other debris, like the beta-amyloid plaque that piles up in patients’ brains.
The problem is, both of these proteins are found at lower than ideal levels in patients with Alzheimer’s.
CBD for Alzheimer’s Disease: New Research
A new study from Augusta University in Georgia has found that high-dose CBD has the potential to significantly improve early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease. The study shows multiple benefits, including improved cognition and restored function in the proteins responsible for clearing that above-mentioned plaque from the brain.
Specifically, CBD was linked to a sevenfold and tenfold increase in IL-33 and TREM2 protein levels.
What’s more, researchers found that CBD reduces the levels of an immune protein, IL-6, linked with the excessive inflammation found in Alzheimer’s patients.
And yes, we should be clear, this study was performed on mice – not humans. But regardless, the potential is clearly there. The mice also showed improvements in their mobility when given the CBD.
The study notes: “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.”
Of course, more research is necessary, including work on determining the ideal dosage and evaluating the effects on CBD when given in the earlier stages of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. That said, these findings show CBD as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.