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Cannabis & Alzheimer’s Care: Understanding Your Treatment Options

Cannabis & Alzheimer’s Care: Understanding Your Treatment Options

Nearly 750,000 Canadians live with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia. Many have heard about the positive effects of medical cannabis on the condition and are considering bringing it into their wellness plan for themselves and their loved ones, yet are unsure how to get started. With new cannabis strains popping up all the time, and lots of information to sift through, it can be a bit overwhelming to know the best path forward. A good place to start is to ask yourself a few key questions, such as: Are you trying to manage certain symptoms of the condition? Which symptoms are showing up most and having the biggest impact on your life?

We have the tools and information to help you understand how different strains have positively affected those who exhibit the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as inflammation, memory loss and confusion, anxiety or depression, and changes in mood and personality. Our unique educational forums can also help connect you with those who are going through your same experiences so that you have a deeper level of social support along your path.

Let’s start by taking a brief look at the biological processes involved in Alzheimer’s disease, along with its main signs and symptoms.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, and accounts for between 60-80% of the cases. It is most commonly attributed to the build-up of certain plaque-forming proteins called beta amyloids along with twisted fibrous ‘tangles’ of the protein called tau. These gradually damage and destroy nerve cells to diminish memory and alter your ability to think clearly. They can also cause behavioural issues that stem from confusion, frustration, and mood swings. Some common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Difficulty remembering newly learned information
  • Confusion about time and place
  • Suspicious or paranoid behaviours
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Difficulty forming coherent thoughts during conversation
  • Problems with walking and forming words
  • Reduced problem-solving skills
  • Issues with sight and spatial fields

The proteins that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s are believed to be stimulated by a combination of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors, including Vitamin D deficiency, a family history of the condition, and air pollution or pesticide exposure.  

How does Cannabis Help Treat Alzheimer’s Disease?

Your body’s Endocannabinoid System is responsible for regulating many of your immune, metabolic, and digestive processes. In the case of Alzheimer’s, natural endocannabinoids that are produced by your body help protect against the beta amyloid protein that is most associated with the disease. THC is an exocannabinoid found in cannabis that has shown promise for taking on this same role.

A recent study from the Salk Institute found preliminary indications that THC can stimulate cell processes which lead to the removal of beta amyloid. It has also shown promise for helping to reduce the cell-damaging inflammation caused by this protein. Many other studies have indicated that THC can help reduce certain symptoms of the disease, including agitation and aggression.

THC is best known as the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that gets you high, but research also indicates that it may have a myriad of wellness-boosting benefits beyond its treatment potential for Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s important to note that this research is still in the early stages, and more conclusive information is being sought to better understand how cannabis can aid with treating this and other conditions.

Getting Started with the Best Strain

One key point to consider when choosing an Alzheimer’s cannabis strain is that it contains a cannabinoid called CBD which has been shown to offset some of the effects of THC. For this reason, many people choose to start their Alzheimer’s wellness plan with strains which contain higher amounts of THC and lower levels of CBD. For example, our most popular strain among users contains 17.2% THC and just .05% CBD.

Since everyone’s body chemistry is different, our app allows you to track your symptoms and any changes you notice after using specific strains so that you can better determine which one is best for your therapeutic needs. You can also explore what other people who experience your same Alzheimer’s symptoms use, and what their average efficacy, or desired result, is for each strain.

By bringing together a strong community of medical cannabis users, we help you find like-minded, supportive individuals who help grow your understanding of how cannabis can be integrated into your Alzheimer’s self-care strategy.

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