Could Cannabis Improve Long Term Brain Health?
By Chela Fiorini
My mom died with complications from Alzheimer’s and so did my paternal aunt and grandmother. When they were diagnosed the mainstream thought was that there is nothing you can do to slow or stop the progression nor could we prevent it. Now, we know better. We know that we can do many things to fight off the onset of debilitating cognitive decline if we have an early diagnosis. But I say, why wait?
Particularly interested in preventing cognitive decline, I learn from many functional medicine doctors and practice a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes eating vegetables, minimizing starchy carbs, lean toward low glycemic sweets like berries; doing regular moderate exercise; getting quality sleep and managing stress with mindfulness and meditation as well as using cannabis medicine. Two new studies released in March validate my personal working theories.
In Georgia, a mouse study showed that two weeks of high doses of CBD “…ameliorated the symptoms of AD, and retarded cognitive decline…” Cannabidiol Ameliorates Cognitive Function via Regulation of IL-33 and TREM2 Upregulation in a Murine Model of Alzheimer’s Disease
Also released last month, a computer simulation employing all atom molecular dynamics simulations showed that “…THC molecules disrupt the amyloid-β protofibril structure by binding strongly to them.” And referenced that “…Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid, which can bind to the receptors in the brain, and has shown promise in reducing the fibril content in many experimental studies…”
There is a new drug in the Korean research pipeline showing some hope for Alzheimer’s on the thing that cannabis seems to do, but cannabis is available to Californians and many others right now, and has an established low risk of harm in the low doses that seniors and people living with dementia are using.
Combining these interesting new findings with Dr. Russo’s Frontiers article, also below, I’m seeing a picture that research should do a hard pivot and look for how cannabis is and can help in dementing illnesses and so many others.
Hope you enjoy reading the studies, and please share what you’re doing to support your long term brain health in the comments.
“Our findings suggest that CBD treatment enhanced IL-33 and TREM2 expression, ameliorated the symptoms of AD, and retarded cognitive decline.”
“…Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of dementia in the elderly population for which there is no cure at present. Deposits of neurotoxic plaques are found in the brains of patients which are composed of fibrils of the amyloid-β peptide. Molecules which can disrupt these fibrils have gained attention as potential therapeutic agents. Δ-tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) is a cannabinoid, which can bind to the receptors in the brain, and has shown promise in reducing the fibril content in many experimental studies. In our present study, by employing all atom molecular dynamics simulations, we have investigated the mechanism of the interaction of the THC molecules with the amyloid-β protofibrils. Our results show that the THC molecules disrupt the protofibril structure by binding strongly to them. The driving force for the binding was the hydrophobic interactions with the hydrophobic residues in the fibrils. As a result of these interactions, the tight packing of the hydrophobic core of the protofibrils was made loose, and salt bridges, which were important for stability were disrupted. Hydrogen bonds between the chains of the protofibrils which are important for stability were disrupted, as a result of which the β-sheet content was reduced. The destabilization of the protofibrils by the THC molecules leads to the conclusion that THC molecules may be considered for the therapy in treating Alzheimer’s disease.”
[FTA] “…Based on its pharmacology (Russo and Marcu, 2017), cannabis components may provide myriad benefits on target symptoms in this complex disorder:
- Agitation: THC, CBD, linalool
- Anxiety: CBD, THC (low dose), linalool
- Psychosis: CBD
- Insomnia/Restlessness: THC, linalool
- Anorexia: THC
- Aggression: THC, CBD, linalool
- Depression: THC, limonene, CBD
- Pain: THC, CBD
- Memory: alpha-pinene (Russo, 2011; Russo and Marcu, 2017) + THC
- Neuroprotection: CBD, THC
- Reduced Aβ plaque formation: THC, CBD, THCA…”