CBD Oil for Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Sundowning & Disorientation

CBD Oil for Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Sundowning & Disorientation

CBD Oil for Alzheimer’s Disease – Sundowning & Disorientation in Dementia

The aging process can lead to decreased neuroplasticity abilities in our brains, making brain cells less likely to adapt to immediate changes or alerts that happen in daily life. Younger children have a greater ability to adapt to changes in the brain since their brains are still forming and developing. This process becomes more difficult the older you get. However, it is possible to improve the brains ability to form stronger connections through physical exercise, practice, and repetition of cognitive problems.

Strengthening the neuroplasticity of the brain is important for a variety of reasons. It allows for recovery after an event that damages the brain, such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI) after car wrecks or strikes to the head. The nerves may rebuild themselves to restore brain function back to normal in the best of cases, or at least to somewhat improve function in more severe cases.

CBD (Cannabidiol) Dementia and neurogenesis

Cannabis reverses dementia as aging processes in the brain, study suggests

Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these aging processes in the brain. This was shown in mice by scientists at the University of Bonn with their colleagues at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). Old animals were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with prolonged low-dose treatment with a cannabis active ingredient. This opens up new options, for instance, when it comes to treating dementia. The results are now presented in the journal Nature Medicine.

Neuroplasticity may play a role in mental health as well. Sometimes certain mental health disorders, such as depression, may result from neurons “misfiring” and it is thought that neuroplasticity may be able to help fix this. Depression might result from not only chemical misbalances but also neuroplasticity issues as well. Another example is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are a few studies that detail the concepts behind neurogenesis (creating new neurons, or nerve cells) and how the process of neuroplasticity may lead to improved future treatments for PTSD.

One big reason people started looking into neuroplasticity are disorders that relate to dementia. Using this to help treat dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is also a possibility in the future. As mentioned above, neuroplasticity declines with aging, which many feels goes hand in hand with dementia. The main idea is that we can use neuroplasticity to help increase or maintain cognitive performance in those at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease or for those in the early stages of it.

Further extensive research is needed to understand the long-term effects of taking cannabis, and whether it is an effective and safe way to tackle dementia symptoms. At this time, there is little to no studies providing evidence indicating that cannabis or CBD Oil can stop, reverse, decrease neuroplasticity, or prevent dementia.  Some limited studies suggest that cannabis could help manage and decrease a few behavioral symptoms of dementia, such as aggression and agitation.

Always talk to your health-care provider if you have any questions or concerns about cannabis use and the risk of dementia or other brain disorders before initiating any non-traditional health regime. Nonetheless, there have been no large-scale clinical trials on the effects of cannabis or CBD Oil in people living with dementia.

CBD Oil Trials For Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

A trial funded by Alzheimer’s Research U.K. and led by researchers at King’s College London, medical marijuana will be used to treat dementia patients in this first small-scale trial. They will be testing a product called Sativex, a peppermint-flavored mouth spray with both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) ingredients. It has been already approved for some patients with multiple sclerosis. Researchers will monitor 60 patients between the ages of 55 and 90 who are living in care-assist homes for the trial. They are targeting people who experience agitation and aggression as symptoms of dementia in particular.

“While people most often associate Alzheimer’s disease with memory problems, this is just one aspect of a complex condition that can affect people in different ways,” said psychiatrist Dag Aarsland, the professor supervising the trial. “Many people with Alzheimer’s can become agitated or aggressive, and this can pose difficulties for the person with the condition and those closest to them.”

In the United States, 30 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, but there is limited research on the drug’s effect on dementia patients because it’s difficult to get trials approved, Dr. Nathan Herrmann, the head of the division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Canada, told Being Patient.

“Based on some preliminary studies in other populations, like younger individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as animal studies, there is at least some reason to theorize these drugs would have a benefit,” said Herrmann. “Therefore, there is a crucial need to do more, and larger studies in patients with Alzheimer’s disease” Herrmann warns that marijuana-based treatments will not likely improve cognition in dementia patients to determine their effects and side effects, but in fact, there is good reason to believe that cannabinoids could make cognitive function worse, either by direct effects or by causing excessive sedation.”

Research on CBD and Alzheimer’s Disease

The King’s College researchers hope that completing this small trial will result in getting a much larger clinical trial approved to offer more options to people with dementia and their caregivers. “Current treatments for behavioral and psychiatric symptoms of dementia are very limited, and we desperately need to develop alternatives,” said Aarsland. “Doctors sometimes prescribe antipsychotic medications, and while these drugs can have important benefits, these need to be weighed against the risk of very serious side effects,” he added.

The spray may offer some hope to people suffering from the unpleasant symptoms that sometimes accompany a dementia diagnosis. “With no new dementia treatments in over 15 years, it is vital that we test a wide range of approaches to find effective ways to help people living with the condition,” said David Reynolds, Ph.D., of Alzheimer’s Research U.K. “While a major focus for dementia research is to develop drugs that slow or stop the progression of the physical diseases that cause dementia, what really matters is that a medicine benefits people’s day-to-day lives,” he added. The spray is equal parts THC and CBD. THC is known for its psychoactive effects as well as stimulating appetite in patients.

CBD, on the other hand, has been found to help with nausea, mild anxiety and provide some anti-inflammatory benefits. The spray is created from plants grown under secure conditions that allow for consistency in each batch. “This is a rigorous clinical trial of a medication that has been carefully prepared, and which will be tested in circumstances where the health and wellbeing of participants can be closely monitored,” said Reynolds. “There is no good evidence that using cannabis in an uncontrolled setting could benefit people living with dementia, and we know that the drug can involve risks including short-term memory and thinking problems, coordination difficulties and anxiety.”

Alzheimer’s disease and Cannabinoids in Research Studies on Dementia

A key hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is the build-up of clumps of a protein, called beta-amyloid, in the brain. Some studies have shown that components of cannabis, including THC, appear to remove this protein from nerve cells grown in the lab.

Another study that gave both THC and CBD oil to mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease showed an improved in learning and had less evidence of amyloid clumps in their bodies. Research continues to better understand the effects of CBD Oil on the brain. Some very early evidence suggests that CBD Oil may reduce inflammation in the brain, although this has yet to be proven in people.

What is CBD?

CBD Oil (aka Cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the Cannabis plant that has positive medicinal effects but does not make people feel “high,” or anxious. CBD Oil, in various forms, is legal in some of the states in the United States. CBD Oil should not be confused with Marijuana or the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) compound which is known for generating a “high” with users. CBD is derived from Cannabis plants, like how caffeine is derived from the coffee bean, or aspirin from the bark of a Willow tree.

CBD Oil is the most common form of administration of the compound with the oil contained in a gel cap or dropper bottle. Cannabidiol or CBD is a chemical found in plants of the species called Cannabis. Cannabis is known as hemp plants.

Without getting too scientific, Cannabis sativum is the kind of hemp known as industrial hemp. It was specifically bred to have low THC, the chemical found in marijuana that causes the “high” feeling. It was also bred to have high levels of CBD. CBD is one of the phytochemicals, chemicals from plants, that reacts with the human ECS. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) was discovered in the 1980s. It was studied to try to understand the effects marijuana had on people. Research since that time has shown that this system helps the body maintain a consistent state which is called homeostasis.

The ECS impacts 5 body systems: Central Nervous System, Brain, Intestinal Tract, Immune System, and the Peripheral Nervous System. While it started with THC, it is now known that there are over 110 different chemicals in hemp extract. These include cannabinoids which consist of CBD, THC, terpenes, flavonoids, healthy fatty acids, and many others. It’s also been found that the ECS has been around for a very long time and is found in nearly every living organism that has been studied.

CBD interacts with the human body as part of the ECS. It is thought to impact many of the systems related to the factors described in the homeostasis section above. Research has shown that CBD activates a variety of receptors in the body, and it also helps with minimizing the “high” effects of THC.

Some of the things that CBD is associated with are: analgesia, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, acne, and general supplementation to maintain homeostasis. Research has shown that the ECS is related to helping the body maintain homeostasis. Many people experience difficulties due to being too “energized” which can be described as becoming very anxious or having difficulty with sleeping or eating. Others are too “lethargic” which can lead to depression or just a general lack of energy.

If these exist for a long time, then imbalances in the ECS can lead to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED). This is thought to be involved in a variety of disorders including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, glaucoma, PTSD and bipolar disorder.

CBD Oil Health Benefits for Dementia

Research does suggest that high concentrations of CBD Oil could be useful for managing some of the symptoms of dementia such as agitation and anxiety. A few small clinical trials have assessed the effects of cannabinoids, including THC and synthetic cannabinoids, such as nabilone on behavioral symptoms of dementia. However, trials and studies so far have generally been small or low quality making it difficult to provide a valid conclusion. It is also important to note that the researchers in these studies have used high concentrations of CBD Oil that may not be available to purchase. These studies have also been short-term, so it is not known what are the long term effects of using CBD Oil.

A study is currently underway at King’s College London that will look at whether a mouth spray containing cannabinoids could be used to reduce symptoms of agitation and aggression in a small group of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is still not clear on whether cannabis or its by-products could be used to treat dementia. Lack of strong research studies mean that uncertain and anecdotal reports have taken the place of hard evidence. None of the studies or trials have investigated the effects of cannabis or its components on the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease in people. Whereas the studies in the laboratory show some promise, there needs to be a better understanding regarding the wider effects that these components have before we can know whether they have any effect, positive or negative, on the development of Alzheimer’s in people.

Also, many of these studies have involved a particularly isolated component of cannabis. Even if one component is found to influence dementia risk, it doesn’t necessarily correlate that taking cannabis would have the same effect. There is also a large amount of variation in the levels of THC and CBD Oil in different strains of the plant so the effects could depend on the type of cannabis used. The dementia-related conditions that can be helped by CBD Oil include Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia and Huntington’s disease.

According to researchers at California’s Salk Institute, their 2017 study found evidence that cannabinoids such as CBD could help remove dementia from brain cells. As of right now, there are a limited number of FDA approved uses of CBD Oil. While the US Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a CBD drug for the purposes of treating dementia, it has approved a CBD-based drug for treating epilepsy. The most famous use is for epilepsy or seizures. Epidiolex is the first drug containing a purified drug substance from marijuana plants that obtained FDA approval.

There are three ways CBD can work to improve health outcomes for persons with dementia: by reducing inflammation, by reducing oxygen buildup, and by working as a brain stimulant and neuroprotectant. CBD Oil may reduce stress and anxiety in the individual with dementia as well as reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions. It should be noted that much controversy surrounds CBD Oil and the claims companies have made as to its positive effects without substantial evidence.

Alzheimer’s Disease and CBD Oil

The topic of CBD health benefits continues to grow with early stages of CBD and Alzheimer’s research. In small recent studies, CBD Oil has been shown to reduce or remove the impact of inflammation, oxygen buildup and brain cell decline. Inflammation has been shown to increase the negative impact of Alzheimer’s disease. The inflammatory response happens when the brain’s immune cells fail to clear disorienting blockages. The inflammation is a core cause of Alzheimer’s symptoms that may to be known to be reduced by using CBD Oil.

Oxygen is released as a reactive, stress-induced component of Alzheimer’s disease. When inflammation happens in the brain, oxygen is released as a result. The greater the inflammation, the greater the negative impact. Important brain functions such as memory are decreased as more oxygen is released in the brain’s cells. Memory loss and other brain deterioration indirectly leads to increased oxygen in the brain. CBD is an antioxidant, which helps reduce the problems associated with oxygen stress. Brain functions negatively impacted by oxygen stress can be improved by using CBD Oil.

Alzheimer’s patients’ brain cells often show a path of rapid decline and destruction. The potential of stimulating brain tissue was recently discovered as a potential benefit of CBD. In small clinical trials, CBD Oil has shown the ability to reverse and even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s negative impact. A 2011 study by Australian researchers Tim Karl and Carl Group found that CBD Oil promotes the growth and development of brain cells, which were shown to reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions.


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CBD Effects on Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to one’s brain. To effectively treat vascular dementia, a 2016 study by the US National Institute of Health (NIH) found that activating CB2 (cannabinoid) receptors in the brain helped recover better blood flow to the brain. Activating the CB2 receptors with CBD has increased brain cell activity and helped reduce brain cell damage commonly associated with vascular dementia.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, sleeping, movement, behavior, and mood. Unlike most pain, anxiety or behavior management drugs, CBD does not block acetylcholine, the main chemical that LBD attacks. Some research has shown that CBD Oil can be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, reduce motor symptoms (tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia) and maintain circadian (sleep) rhythms.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is a chronic progressive disease of the nervous system chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. Parkinson’s is linked to decreased dopamine production and marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement. Digestive imbalance may also play a role in the progression of Parkinson’s and the severity of symptoms. Cannabinoids such as CBD Oil have shown to contain effective brain protectors, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial for managing Parkinson’s disease.

Frontotemporal Dementia / Pick’s Disease

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or frontotemporal degenerations refers to a group of disorders caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes (the areas behind one’s forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind one’s ears) that leads to symptoms of depression and psychosis. Unlike most anti-psychotic drugs, CBD does not lead to an increased risk of death. Research has shown that CBD can be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, reduce anxiety, reduce motor symptoms (tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia) and maintain circadian (sleep) rhythms.

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease (HD), also known as Huntington’s chorea, is an inherited disorder that results in death of brain cells. The earliest symptoms are often subtle problems with mood or mental abilities. A general lack of coordination and an unsteady gait often follow. According to 2016 research from the University of Madrid, due to CBD’s effectiveness as antioxidants and its anti-inflammatory properties that is safe and tolerable at high doses, CBD Oil may be beneficial for managing Huntington’s disease.

Risks & Side Effects

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that “no public health problems… have been associated with the use of pure CBD,” and there has been no known association with potential for dependence or abuse, unlike most pharma alternatives. The most commonly reported potential side effects of CBD Oil usage were diarrhea and bloating, with some also reporting nausea. About 3% of patients in studies reported liver problems and had to discontinue CBD Oil use. Specifically, in dementia, some patients reported increased tremors with high doses of CBD Oil. As with any new treatment, patients and caregivers should monitor effects and outcomes closely with their health-care providers.

Dosage Information

CBD Product Recommended for How long to take effect How long it lasts Pros Cons
Ingested CBD (edibles, capsules, drink powders) Those who want more control over dosage or to be more discreet 30-60 minutes 2-4 hours No harm to lungs, discreet, convenient, more control over dosage Takes a while to kick in
Smokeable CBD (e-cig, flower, vape) Those with fast-acting as a priority and those that like to smoke Instant 45 minutes – 1 hour Fast-acting, can help quit cigarettes, great for social situations Non-discreet, can’t be done everywhere, could be damaging to lungs
Topicals (lotions, gels, balms, salves) Those suffering from a specific pain like joint pain or skin problems Varies widely; factors include hair growth, amount of fatty tissue, etc. 5 hours or more Applied directly to the problem area, metabolism isn’t an issue, long-lasting, easy to work into your routine Can be slow to take effect; depending on the problem, could take prolonged use to achieve the desired results
Transdermal Patches Those who don’t have regular access to consuming other means, those with chronic pain Varies widely; factors same as above 1-2 days Lasts the longest, metabolism isn’t an issue, steady release of CBD into the bloodstream Could take hours for effects to kick in



Azriel Adelberg
About Azriel Adelberg

MSc Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
An Israeli born organic chemist and PROUD University of California, Berkeley graduate.

7 thoughts on “CBD Oil for Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Sundowning & Disorientation
  1. Avatar Maria Ohara says:

    I have heard great things about the CBD. I can’t wait to incorporate it in my next product🤗🤗🤗.

  2. I had success using Cbd oil to get off opioids and pain medication.

  3. Cbd oil under tongue for a few minutes. Wonderful pain relief.

  4. Avatar Gene Jimenez says:

    I have Parkinson’s .I use 1500 strength for anxiety. Pain tremors and headache. Mostly I use it topical2/3 drops on my inside wrist. Rub with other and top over hands.i will put 2 drops on finger tips and rub over my forehead and neck cords .it is about 10 min. And relief.🤛👍😊

  5. Avatar Jamesgrike says:

    The stuff is really fascinating.

  6. Avatar Brian Gah says:

    Wow cuz this is excellent work! Keep it up.

  7. Avatar Doria Sause says:

    Hi, the CBD Oil for Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Sundowning & Disorientation article is
    very good, congratulations to biomdplus.com authors.

    I found a product that changed my life. 🙂 Kisses!

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