Australian researchers have received positive results treating mice with Alzheimer’s disease with CBD. CBD is the non-psychotropic cannabinoid naturally occurring in cannabis that counteracts the effects of THC.
Mice bred to mimic symptoms of Alzheimer’s given CBD showed drastic improvement in memory. Humans who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease tend to forget familiar faces and have a loss of skills in general. More studies are needed to fully evaluate CBD’s role in treating Alzheimer’s disease. The next step is to examine the brains of the mice and see if they also show physical improvements after the treatment.
Widely prescribed drugs for Alzheimer’s disease today help boost levels of acetylcholine, however, these drugs have proven to be ineffective. More current research instead points to chronic inflammation as the cause of Alzheimer’s. The build-up of plaque is believed to block neuron signalling and trigger cell death through arterial inflammation. CBD has been tested in the lab to be a potent anti-inflammatory.
“Cannabinoids are the first and only class of drugs that have ever been effective,” said Gary Wenk, a professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University.
CBD has been shown in other studies to promote the growth of new brain cells, in a process known as neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is responsible for populating the growing brain with neurons. Many of the newborn cells die shortly after they are born, but a number of them become functionally integrated into the surrounding brain tissue.
There are a number of marijuana strains that have been bred to contain high levels of CBD. These strains were actually bred before researchers started studying CBD in a formal, scientific manner.