Everything About CBD and Alzheimer’s
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative form of dementia in which plaque builds up along neurons in various parts of the cerebral cortex. The exact cause of this is unknown, but the result is loss of function of neurons which have accumulated this plaque, and with the progression of the disease, complete degeneration of neurons. This literally causes a decrease in the total mass of the brain, and it produces far-reaching behavioral and short-term memory issues.
Music therapy in which patients actively participate in the creation of new music shows almost instantaneous behavioral remission of the disease, which sheds light on potential mechanisms of how the brain routes signals around damaged areas and the benefit of forcing it to push a signal through them instead.
One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of beta-amyloid plaque build up inside neurons. Not only does this build up physically disrupt the functioning of the neuron, but it also triggers an immense immune cascade that ends in the cell’s destruction. Microglial cells are not initiated by this reaction for some reason.
In a manner similar to the physical presentation of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s is when physical neuronal damage results in a cognitive impairment rather than a motor impairment. There is an immune component to its progression that is not well-understood at the present time, but as we know, CB2 receptors are very present in the immune system and experts are looking into using this as a window to the world of CBD treatment of Alzheimer’s.
What role could CBD play?
As with almost every chronic condition, Alzheimer’s disease is the result of a complex imbalance of proteins, protective cells, and metabolic byproducts in the brain. The microtubules which function as cellular superhighways are held together by tau proteins. With age, and seemingly due to oxidative stress, these proteins begin to dislodge and fuse together, forming tangled peptide clumps. This is the starting point for the plaque that is indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.
CBD is a potent antioxidant, so it reduces the oxidative stress that induces tau disruption in the first place. Additionally, it is also neuroprotective, which means that it stimulates brain cells other than neurons whose functions involve maintenance and support of the effector neurons. When these helper cells malfunction, theoretically, any of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s could result. However, a definitive link has still not been found.