Alzheimer & CBD

A joint study conducted by researchers from the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Romania, demonstrated that CBD was effective for pain relief versus traditional opioid drugs in patients with advanced cancer. The 117 patients who took part in the study were late stage cancer patients who were not getting enough pain relief despite chronic high doses of powerful opioids. As a guide, the World Health Organization proposes that doctors use an analgesic ladder to guide pain relief for patients in palliative care.

Step 1 suggests the use of paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 

As pain worsens, doctors can move to Step 2 by administering weak opioids along with paracetamol, NSAIDs, and adjuvant analgesic medications. 

In Step 3, the final step, strong opioids like morphine are often administered in combination with all of the other drugs as a last resort for severe pain relief.

Unfortunately, many patients still report serious pain even while maxing out their opioid intake. What’s worse, these drugs have also been linked to a number of unwanted side effects including constipation, sedation, nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, histamine release, agitation, hallucinations and confusion.

The good news is that the study found that twice as many patients taking a THC:CBD extract showed a reduction of more than 30% from baseline pain. The THC:CBD extract proved to be a very effective form of pain relief for patients with advanced cancer pain but were not fully relieved by powerful opioids. Their findings were published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Another example of cannabinoids showing immense promise as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs is in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, the major Alzheimer’s medications available on the market are called acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors. AChE inhibitor drugs such as tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine work by inhibiting the AChE enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine which increases its levels and duration of actions in the brain. Acetylcholine is an essential neurotransmitter that plays an important role in memory.

 A shortage of acetylcholine is linked to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s patients.

But although AChE inhibitors can help alleviate some of the symptoms, they do not delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. More importantly, their side effects are well known to include abdominal pain, lack of appetite, yellowed skin, dizziness, slow heartbeat, and sudden or substantial weight loss.