Alzheimer’s disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is an age-related brain disease that is often associated with profound cognitive decline.  The critical aspects of the disease are tightly intertwined with the body’s endocannabinoid system. In the near future, preventative measures for preventing Alzheimer’s will target parts of the endocannabinoid system, and some treatments for the disease will be cannabis-based.

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing population, cases of Alzheimer’s are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression has become imperative to improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer’s disease. 

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing population, cases of Alzheimer’s are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression has become imperative to improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer’s disease. 

In Alzheimer’s disease, deposits of a protein plaque called beta-amyloid build up between nerve cells and kind of blocks neurons trying to fire messages among themselves. This results in the confusion many Alzheimer’s patients seem to suffer. Several cannabinoids break this plaque up. One of the most important is the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol molecule (THC), and this is THE molecule that Alzheimer’s patients should target. The other essential cannabinoids and their contribution to treating Alzheimer’s disease were discussed in the chapter on strain fingerprints.

Molecules to target Alzheimer’s disease

When analyzing a strain to target Alzheimer’s, these cannabinoids you should seek: THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, and THCA.

These molecules are considered AChE inhibitors of the terpenes: Pulegone, alpha-pinene, alpha-Terpineol, terpineol-4-ol and, p-cymene. I always like myrcene because it synergizes the other terpenes and changes the permeability of the cell membranes to allow better absorption of the cannabinoids into the brain. I would also look for strains high in Pulegone because it has been shown to have memory-boosting effects. Other memory-boosting terpenes are Alpha-Pinene and Eucalyptol.

 In addition, if I had a relative with Alzheimer’s disease, I would recommend they target the pinene terpene because it tends to promote focus. I would also be looking at linalool due to its calming effect. Limonene has mood-enhancing properties and might also be appropriate.

Best method of ingestion 

Oral cannabis preparations are best because the effects are long-lasting and easily incorporated into a palatable and appealing form for the patient. Never dose anyone without their knowledge, and care should be taken not to leave the oral preparations around where they could be mistaken by the patient as a snack. This is medicine and should be treated as such!