Over the years, the idea that CBD may be able to help manage the behavioural symptoms of dementia has emerged both in the media and in anecdotal accounts.
Although there is currently no evidence that CBD (or any other cannabis extract) can help prevent the disease, there is still a wealth of individual reports that point towards it helping with the everyday management of symptoms.
In this article, we’ll be looking at how CBD may play a part in helping those suffering from dementia to live a healthier, more fulfilled life.
What is CBD?
CBD is the acronym given to “cannabidiol”, a compound found in all plants of the cannabis family. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the compound that makes recreational users feel high or stoned – CBD is non-psychoactive.
This means it can offer users many of the benefits afforded by cannabis, without the visual and emotional impairment experienced by weed smokers.
How does CBD work within the body?
Your body contains several different systems all essential for maintaining a state of homeostasis; or a healthy and functioning body. A recently discovered network of neurotransmitters and receptors has come to be known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The ECS is comprised of CB1 and CB2 receptors and is involved in regulating appetite, sleep, mood, and even influencing memory and stress responses.
How is CBD associated with dementia?
Most CB1 receptors are housed within the hippocampus, which is a small organ located within the brain’s temporal lobe. It helps regulate emotions as a vital part of the limbic system and is also largely responsible for long-term memory.
Unfortunately, this means that the hippocampus is particularly vulnerable to the kind of damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies have also linked microglia – specialised immune cells which carry CB2 receptors – to the early development of Alzheimer’s. On top of that, it’s thought that people with Alzheimer’s disease may have more CB2 receptors in their brains.
How can CBD help manage the symptoms of dementia?
Although it is not yet known whether CBD is capable of preventing or treating the onset of dementia itself, it has proven useful in managing symptoms of the condition.
Many dementia sufferers experience agitation and aggression as symptoms. According to several clinical trials (and a wealth of anecdotal evidence), CBD may be useful as a means of counteracting these behavioural symptoms.
CBD is also known to help regulate mood and improve appetite regulation. This could make it useful for dementia sufferers struggling to relax.
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