A New Study Finds CBD May Help Combat the Onset of Alzheimer's

Two weeks of high doses of CBD reduced the amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, a biomarker for Alzheimer's disease.

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CBD already has a well-earned reputation as a natural wellness therapeutic that can help ease anxiety and combat pain. But recently published research has shown CBD has real potential as a therapy for one of the biggest health issues impacting the country: Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease associated CBD with changes in brain chemistry that restore function of two proteins. Both proteins help the brain battle buildup of plaque that is associated with the onset of cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The research offers hope for millions impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and points to yet another way that CBD has the potential to improve health as well as help people use less potentially dangerous prescription painkillers.

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The impact of dementia is increasing.

Alzheimer’s is the best known of the diseases that lead to dementia. It’s an issue of increasing importance as the United States’ population continues to age. By 2034, the number of people over 65 is expected to be larger than the number of children in the U.S. for the first time in history. Seniors will make up about 20% of the population.

Experts estimate that Alzheimer’s may currently impact 5.5 million Americans. The disease ranks as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. but may rank as high as third, behind only heart disease and cancer, for seniors, according to the National Institute on Aging. 

Most people first experience symptoms in their mid-60s.The damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible. The disease slowly robs people of their memory and thinking skills. Eventually, they have difficulty performing even the most basic tasks.

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CBD strengthens proteins that combat Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from Augusta University in Georgia and the European Medical Association conducted the study. They used mice in the experiment, putting them on a two-week regimen of CBD. They found that CBD led to increased amounts of the proteins TREM2 and IL-33 in the brains of mice.

That’s important because the two proteins are critical to fighting the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. Experts consider buildup of this plaque as a biomarker for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that CBD treatment increased levels of IL-33 sevenfold and levels of TREM2 tenfold.

They also found that CBD improves cognition by reducing levels of the immune protein IL-6, which is associated with the high inflammation found in brains affected by Alzheimer's.

In a press release about the study, researchers said that the findings are important because there is a dire need for novel therapies to improve outcomes for patients with Alzheimer’s, which they called “one of the fastest-growing health threats in the United States.”

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