What is Dementia?
Dementia refers to a common set of symptoms which are associated with several brain diseases, for example Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is characterized by a long-term decline in mental abilities.
While the most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, these symptoms can be caused by several conditions, such as damage to the blood vessels supplying the brain (vascular dementia) and buildup of damaging proteins in the brain’s cells (as in Parkinson’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies.)
The most widely recognized symptom of dementia is memory loss. However, you may also develop problems in areas including emotional regulation, communication and language, attention, reasoning, judgment, mental clarity, and movement. These symptoms can cause difficulty with tasks such as household management, shopping, preparing meals, attending appointments, and personal care.
Some types of dementia start out slowly and get worse over time. You might lose interest in things you once enjoyed, and the challenges of dementia often mean that you’ll require care from friends, family, or professionals.
While several conventional treatments exist which can help with symptoms, to date there is no known cure for dementia.
Dementia can be very distressing for patients, loved ones, and caregivers, so the lack of a cure has led many patients to look to alternative treatments like CBD. Read on to learn how CBD could help you or a loved one dealing with dementia.
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Can CBD Help With Dementia?
Patient reports suggest that CBD could help with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and agitation in people with dementia. While the scientific research is taking a little while to catch up, the studies available have supported patient experiences. However, it’s important to note that CBD could interact with some medications prescribed to patients with dementia. This means that, as with any new medication it’s important to speak to your medical team to make sure that CBD is right for you.
Research to date has pointed to CBD as a potential strategy for managing several aspects of dementia such as behavioral difficulties, memory loss, and neural inflammation.
A pilot study conducted at a nursing home in Geneva found that a combination of CBD and THC helped reduce the severity of behavioral problems in patients with dementia. Half of the 10 patients reduced their dose of other psychotropic medications or stopped using them entirely. Staff at the nursing home noted a decrease in rigidity which made it easier for patients to move and improved the quality of their daily care.
Studies have found that CBD could reduce the production of the amyloid plaques responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. This has led scientists to suggest that CBD could slow the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
Several types of dementia have been linked to oxidative stress and inflammation in brain cells. This means that treatment approaches which focus on treating oxidative damage and inflammation could delay the progress of some types of dementia. CBD has shown promise as a potent antioxidant which could reduce this effect.
While scientists stress the need for more research into how CBD might help with dementia, traditional treatments typically focus on the symptoms rather than the causes of dementia. Given CBD’s potential to influence disease processes in some types of dementia, it’s definitely worth speaking to your doctor to see if CBD could form part of your treatment plan.
Can CBD Oil Help With Memory Loss?
One of the more challenging symptoms for many people with dementia is memory loss. Memory loss can cause patients to, for example, forget important dates and events or the names of friends and loved ones. You might find yourself becoming increasingly reliant on strategies like making lists or using electronic reminders.
One type of memory which can be affected by dementia is social recognition. This refers to the ability to recognize people you’ve met before t can be heartbreaking for everyone involved when patients lose their ability to recognize friends and family.But at least one study has found that CBD could help. The scientists found that mice treated long-term with CBD were protected from difficulties with social recognition memory (recognizing other mice) associated with dementia.
While CBD hasn’t been well researched for other aspects of memory loss in dementia, patient experiences have been largely positive. Some patients have found that CBD has remarkable effects on memory, and can significantly improve mental clarity.
Due to the lack of research, we can’t be 100% certain that CBD will help, but as with many supplements, it’s a case of “you can’t be sure until you try.” Given CBD’s impressive safety record, it could be worth a shot.
Best CBD Oil for Dementia
As much of the pathology behind dementia takes place in the central nervous system, you’ll need to choose a CBD oil which you can take internally for a full-body effect. This means that topicals might not be the most effective treatment for dementia.
Your options include CBD tinctures, CBD in a carrier such as hemp or coconut oil, CBD gummies, and CBD paste. CBD treatments which include the full spectrum of phytocannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant are usually most effective, so consider trying a full spectrum CBD product over oils containing only CBD isolate.
CBD Oil Dosage for Dementia
Considering that you might already be taking prescribed drugs for your dementia, as well as the seriousness of the condition, you should exercise caution when finding the right dosage of CBD. If you can find a CBD-literate doctor to help with your dosing, all the better.
CBD typically works best when taken 2-3 times a day, and effective doses can range from 5mg/day up to as much as 250mg. To start with, you could try taking the lowest dose of CBD available to you and gradually increase until you find the relief you need.
While more research would be beneficial, patients experiences make it clear that some sufferers of dementia experience a big improvement from CBD. CBD supplements could help you with symptoms such as memory loss, anxiety, depression. This can help to make your, or your loved one’s, daily life more enjoyable and manageable. In some types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, CBD could even slow the progression of your condition.
Please share this article if you know someone who could benefit from using CBD as a treatment for dementia and, of course, let us know in the comments if you have any questions or doubts!
Will is the editor here at CBD Oil Geek. He is passionate about CBD and other natural alternatives to dangerous prescription medicines. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York.