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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dan Jin

Cannabis and Alzheimer's Disease

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease of aging, and agitation and memory loss are the commons symptoms observed in AD patients that can greatly impact quality of life and brings extra burden to patients family and caregiver. Current FDA-approved treatments for AD include three kinds of inhibitors, which only have modest symptomatic efficacy, no effect on disease progression, and are frequently associated with adverse effects. 

There is increasing interest in cannabinoids as promising agents due to preclinical and early clinical research that suggest cannabinoids have anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and/or anti-inflammatory effects. One recent study investigated the mechanisms that lead to agitation in Alzheimer’s disease and concluded that cannabinoids may relieve agitation by regulating neurotransmitters, improving comorbidities and circadian rhythms, and increasing cerebral circulation. One earlier study suggested that CBD increases cerebral blood flow to key regions involved in memory processing, particularly the hippocampus, which identified the potential mechanisms of CBD for a range of conditions associated with altered memory processing, including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and cannabis-use disorders. The current evidence suggests that cannabinoids could provide therapeutic benefits, however, cannabinoids pose an increased risk of seizures, sedation, and possible drug interactions. More randomized controlled trials investigating the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of symptoms of AD patients are needed.


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