Cannabidiol (CBD) has garnered a lot of popularity in the past few years when it comes to mitigating pain and anxiety, especially for those with chronic conditions.
The CBD market continues to grow as interest in CBD rises and states in the United States continue to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis. However, CBD isn’t psychoactive, meaning that you won’t feel “high” when you take it.
When it comes to the link between CBD oil and Alzheimer’s, there’s not a ton of research, but the results of what has been studied are promising.
Studies don’t show that CBD can stop, slow, reverse, or prevent the diseases that cause dementia. However, research suggests that cannabis may help manage some behavioral symptoms, like agitation and aggression.
Keep reading to learn more about CBD’s role in Alzheimer’s relief. As always, you should talk with your doctor to see if it’s an option for your condition.
Many people may think that dementia and Alzheimer’s are the same diseases, but they’re not.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe symptoms that impact memory, the performance of daily activities, and communication abilities.
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that gets worse with time. Common ailments of Alzheimer’s include loss of memory, language, and thought.
CBD is one of the active compounds found in the Cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, CBD won’t get you “high.” CBD provides the therapeutic effects associated with marijuana, like calmness, sleep improvement, and pain management.
CBD oil affects brain activity, but not in the same way that THC does. CBD is thought to interact with receptor systems and works directly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.
A handful of studies showed that the symptoms of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) decreased with the use of cannabinoids.
However, due to the small number of sample sizes, study designs, and short trial duration of these studies, the efficacy of these agents on BPSD cannot be confirmed.
A 2019 study implied that CBD may be useful to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, because CBD components could suppress some symptoms, such as behavior disorders and memory loss. Moreover, it suggested that using CBD and THC together could be more useful than using either one alone.
However, research is still limited, and more human studies are needed to conclude whether CBD can help treat Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s can lead to a change in behavior, such as:
- lost inhibitions
- aggressive behavior
- sleep disturbance
- social withdrawal
In relieving common Alzheimer’s symptoms, CBD may be helpful in many ways. CBD has been shown to help with mental symptoms, like loss of sleep, anxiety, and depression.
Despite the possibility of being able to help with certain symptoms, CBD might not be able to help with the effects of Alzheimer’s that occur as the disease progresses.
Symptoms of the disease progressing include:
- trouble speaking or writing
- decreased judgment
- withdrawal from loved ones
- memory loss
According to the World Health Organization, CBD is generally recognized as safe. There are few side effects, though they do occur occasionally.
Side effects noted in studies include:
- changes in appetite and weight
As always, you should check with your doctor before taking CBD.
There are many forms of CBD on the market. Oils and tinctures are a good choice for anyone who can’t take pills or capsules. (More on this below.)
The amount of CBD you should take depends on a variety of factors, including:
- your body weight
- condition you’re treating
- your individual body chemistry
- concentration of CBD
- your age
- other medications you’re taking
It’s important to talk with your doctor before trying CBD on your own. Your doctor can suggest an appropriate dosage.
Since CBD isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there’s no official recommended dosage, so it’s important to stick to what your doctor suggests.
If your doctor doesn’t provide a recommended dosage, start small and gradually increase it until it’s working for your symptoms.
There are several ways to take CBD, with the most common forms being:
- Tinctures. CBD-infused tinctures are liquids, typically oils, taken orally by using a dropper.
- Topicals. CBD topicals include creams and lotions that are used to treat muscle and joint pain. They are effective for localized pain.
- Pills. Pills contain an equal dose of CBD throughout.
- Edibles. CBD gummies are one of the most common and popular ways to take CBD. Each gummy contains the same amount of CBD per package, making it easier to know what dose you’re taking.
CBD oil is known to help minimize symptoms for those experiencing anxiety, depression, and other chronic health concerns.
Though there’s limited research about the efficacy of CBD in those who have Alzheimer’s, results from recent clinical trials suggest that CBD may provide a safe, powerful natural treatment.
Iman Balagam is a writer based in Houston, Texas. When she’s not laughing at her own jokes, or buying overpriced chia pudding, she can be found reading fiction novels, catching a spin class, doomscrolling through TikTok, or waiting for her delayed Spirit flight to board. You can see more of her work on her website.