As of July 12th 2022, there has been an incredible update in regards to cannabis and Alzheimer’s research, and we couldn’t wait to share the news with you! In an article published by the Journal of Medical Reports, cannabinoid-based therapies, inclusive of both hemp and THC, have shown success in treating cognitive deficiencies, (some considered to be incurable) and a variety of mental illnesses. In reference to Alzheimer’s specifically, their research showed improvements in both memory and brain functionality after a patient – suffering from mild regressive symptoms – microdosed cannabis. While cannabinoid THC was first introduced as a treatment, hemp-alternatives like CBD, have shown equal success in symptom reduction and relief. “Cannabinoid-based therapy has been shown to be promising and is emerging as crucial for the treatment of cognitive deficits, mental illnesses, and many diseases considered incurable. There is a need to find an appropriate therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, and cannabinoid-based therapy appears to be a feasible possibility.” [Ana Carolina Ruver-Martins et al ¹]
Cannabis and Alzheimer’s Case Study:
The patient was a 75 year old man diagnosed with Alzheimer’s that had begun to show regressive symptoms commonly associated with the disease: lack of memory, little energy to carry out daily activities, and spatial and temporal disorientation. The experimental treatment plan was conducted over a period of 22 months. During that time frame, the patient was given micro amounts of cannabis extract, and was also subjected to MMSE and ADAS-Cog monitoring and assessment processes. MMSE, or Mini Mental State Examination, is a tool that can be utilized to assess mental status. It’s an 11-question assessment that measures cognitive function, attention, memory, and language. ADAS-Cog, or the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale, was created specifically for Alzheimer’s Disease, and assesses the patients’ current levels of cognitive dysfunction.
The results of this experiment were profound: the administration of cannabis extract helped to reduce the patient’s regressive symptoms, and while preventing major side effects. This success was reflected in the patient’s MMSE and ADAS-Cog scores; “Here we report evidence that the cannabinoid extract improved MMSE (Fig. 1C) and ADAS-Cog (Fig. 1D) scores in the subject evaluated. Symptom amelioration was rapid, robust, and not limited to mnemonic. [Ana Carolina Ruver-Martins et al ¹] One year following treatment, the patient still exhibited cognitive and memory improvements. Approximately 42 months post treatment, followed by a complete physical and mental work-up; the patient was stable, and still showing signs of progress. You don’t have to take our word for it, Campers. Let’s read what the patient himself had to say regarding his treatment and results: “I used to feel forgetful, not once after the treatment. Sometimes, I did not know where I was, it has not happened to me anymore. I used to find myself lost on the streets, I could not leave home unassisted; today, I took the bus by myself to perform my clinical evaluation.” Of note, the treatment with the cannabinoid extract in microdoses appears to positively affect not only cognitive functions. Likewise, the patient has described other enhancements: “Shortly after the beginning of the treatment, I already felt more alert and excited during daily activities, and I have noticed I have been sleeping much better.”
The conclusions drawn from this experiment show the efficacy of cannabis as treatment for Alzheimer’s. The patient exhibited a drastic reduction in regressive symptoms, and was able to show both behavioral and physical stability almost 42 months post-treatment – this is incredible! It’s amazing to finally see the progression of this powerful plant through our healthcare systems, especially at this rate of success. Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and often a challenging disease to watch progress. It can severely impair the patients’ functionality or daily processes. As we continue to research Alzheimer’s and its potential treatment options, we can now add cannabis to our list, and the hope of a more tolerable future in reference to it.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who first discovered the disease in 1906, Alzheimer’s is a deterioration of the mind’s natural processes. Sufferers notice a regression in memory, later followed by loss in critical thinking, and reasoning skills. Symptoms usually begin from the early-mid 60’s in most diagnosed patients, but early on-set signs of Alzheimer’s can develop between ages 30-60. In addition to memory and functionality regressions, patients can also notice changes in behavior and mobility. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease – like lapses in memory, critical thinking, and behavior – are called Dementia, which are why the two terms are often used interchangeably. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia, affecting over 6 million adults in the United States. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown, although clinical studies provide some theories: health and environmental factors, lifestyle choices and the development of certain conditions like: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Genetics can also be a contributing factor, in addition to age-related progressions in the brain. Presently, there are no known cures for Alzheimer’s. The FDA has approved certain drugs to manage its symptoms, but it doesn’t alter the progression of the disease, or the rate at which it progresses. New clinical studies have shown success in utilizing cannabis as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. Cannabis researcher, MedPharm, was recently awarded a grant by Colorado State University Institute of Cannabis Research for the study and isolation of phytocannabinoids in relation to Alzheimer’s treatment. “Early research has suggested that phytocannabinoids may be able to mitigate the psychological and behavioral symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease. Such products, if developed, could potentially help to erode the abnormal accumulation of amyloid, the protein that’s linked to disease progression in Alzheimer’s. In particular, the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties, with no psychoactive or cognition-impairing elements.” [Margarida Maia³]
- Ruver-Martins, A. C., Bicca, M. A., de Araujo, F. S., de Noronha Sales Maia, B. H. L., Pamplona, F. A., da Silva, E. G., & Nascimento, F. P. (2022, July 12). Cannabinoid extract in microdoses ameliorates mnemonic and nonmnemonic Alzheimer’s disease symptoms: A case report – journal of medical case reports. SpringerLink. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13256-022-03457-w
- DementiaCareCentral.com. (2020, October 7). Mini-mental state exam (MMSE) Alzheimer’s / dementia test: Administration, accuracy and scoring. Dementia Care Central. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/mini-mental-state-exam/
- Maia, M., 2022. MedPharm to Study Cannabinoids’ Effects in Alzheimer’s With Grant…. [online] Alzheimer’s News Today. Available at: <https://alzheimersnewstoday.com/news/medpharm-studying-cannabinoids-effects-alzheimers-new-grant/> [Accessed 5 August 2022].