Cannabis and Alzheimer’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Dried and chopped cannabis bud ready for use.

How cannabis can help with Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia amongst the elderly, and with the ever-increasing population, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years.5 Investigation shows that cannabis can prevent the formation of deposits in the brain associated with this degenerative disease. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that the active component of cannabis, Delta9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta) accumulation, the key indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.6 There is also research concluding that amongst the other cannabis compounds, cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychotropic effect, may represent a very promising agent with the highest prospect for therapeutic use in Alzheimer’s patients, many of whom would find that the effect of THC alone could actually add to the confusion they experience. Whilst THC is recognized as an important compound in the treatment of dementia, it needs to be administered with a corresponding or even higher value of CBD, which research has shown will lessen the psychotropic effect of THC on elderly patients. This can easily be achieved by careful selection of the cannabis strain used for medication and high CBD content cannabis strains are recommended for use in the treatment of dementia patients. There are pharmaceutical medicines that can treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but there is no cure. Some medicines will keep memory loss and other symptoms from progressing but this is a short-term solution. Compared to drugs currently prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC in particular has been shown to be a considerably superior inhibitor of Abeta accumulation.

How cannabis can help with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is characterized by the death of motor neurons leading to loss of limb control, breathing, swallowing, speech, and widespread cellular dysfunction.7 The condition refers to a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. This is a fatal, degenerative disease marked by progressive muscle weakness and atrophy. Research has shown that cannabis may help ALS patients by relieving pain, spasticity, drooling, and appetite loss. In scientific studies, it has been shown that THC, along with other cannabinoids, can benefit laboratory mice specifically bred with ALS. This mounting evidence of cannabinoids halting the progression of the condition has started to change the attitudes of doctors, and prominent researchers have recently called for ALS clinical trials with cannabinoids on humans.

Case History:

Cathy Jordan8 Cathy Jordan was diagnosed with ALS in 1986 and given 3-5 years to live by her neurologist. Cathy began using cannabis to treat her ALS in the late 1980s. Nearly 3 decades later she is still alive and coping with ALS. Initially, doctors wouldn’t accept that cannabis could be responsible for Cathy’s survival and informed her that smoking anything would impair her lung function. Cathy asked her doctors if they would take a drug if it was neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. They replied that they would and asked her if she knew one, she informed them she did and it was cannabis. Cathy has said, “There are ALS patients’ associations that fight for the right of patients to die with dignity. But what about my right to life? Keeping my medicine illegal removes my right to life.”