CBD for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Studies – Summarized List

As you look through these CBD Alzheimer’s studies, it becomes apparent that cannabidiol is very beneficial for protecting our neurons and brain cells, and helping to rebuild them as well. 

Let’s look at the studies…

Synaptic plasticity: is the biological process by which specific patterns of synaptic activity result in changes in synaptic strength and is thought to contribute to learning and memory.

Cannabidiol Reverses Deficits in Hippocampal LTP in a Model of Alzheimer's Disease.
Mar 2018 | Lab Study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29574668]

Brief summary:

Synaptic plasticity protection by cannabidiol is demonstrated for the first time in this study in an in vitro model (culture dish).

The study looked at the effect of CBD on amyloid peptides. Amyloid peptides are known to reduce persistent increase in synaptic strength in the hippocampus part of the brain.

Application of CBD alone did not alter persistent increase in synaptic strength in the hippocampus. But, pre-treatment with CBD protected the persistent increase in synaptic strength. Essentially, CBD protected the hippocampus and memory from the peptide that is known to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

end study summary

In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer's Disease
Feb 2017 | Review paper | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5289988/]

Brief summary:

A review and summary of animal subject studies of CBD in relation to neuroprotective effects and Alzheimer’s disease.

The studies demonstrate the ability of CBD to reduce the change caused by damage to neural cells and reduce the neuroinflammatory response. CBD was also shown to promote neurogenesis. Importantly, CBD also reverses and prevents the development of cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s rodent models.

Interestingly, combination therapies of CBD and Δ9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), show that CBD can antagonize the psychoactive effects associated with THC and possibly mediate greater therapeutic benefits than either phytocannabinoid alone.

end study summary

In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer's Disease.
Feb 2017 | Review Paper | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28217094]

Brief summary:

A premise for this review was that cammabidiol has been demonstrated to have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties with respect to Alzheimer’s in vitro (outside the body – culture dish).

So, the review looks at the current studies of cannabidiol used for Alzheimer’s in vivo (within the body), both in humans and in animal subjects.

The studies demonstrate the ability of CBD to reduce the change of neuronal cells in response to damage (reactive gliosis) and the neuroinflammatory response as well as to promote neurogenesis.

“Importantly, CBD also reverses and prevents the development of cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s rodent models. Interestingly, combination therapies of CBD and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient of cannabis sativa, show that CBD can antagonize the psychoactive effects associated with THC and possibly mediate greater therapeutic benefits than either phytocannabinoid alone. ” – direct quote.

end study summary

Cannabidiol Modulates the Expression of Alzheimer's Disease-Related Genes in Mesenchymal Stem Cells.
Nov 2016 | Lab Study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28025562]

Brief summary:

Stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells to be exact, have emerged as a promising tool for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Current therapies for Alzheimer’s that utilize mesenchymal stem cells have shown limited effectiveness.

This study evaluates whether pre-treatment with cannabidiol modulates mesenchymal stem cells in order to improve their therapeutic potential.

The results showed that pre-treatment with CBD prevented the expression of proteins and suggested that mesenchymal stem cells preconditioned with CBD possess a molecular profile that might be more beneficial for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

end study summary

Delineating the Efficacy of a Cannabis-Based Medicine at Advanced Stages of Dementia in a Murine Model.
Oct 2016 | Lab Study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27567873]

Brief summary:

This study focused on the effectiveness of THC and CBD extracts on Alheimer’s type symptoms in mice models.

Results displayed evidence of effectiveness for memory impairment in advanced stages of cognitive impairment, but not very effective for the early stages.

It was also shown that the extracts had no negative effects on cognitive impairment on healthy subjects.

end study summary

Gingival Stromal Cells as an In Vitro Model: Cannabidiol Modulates Genes Linked With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Nov 2016 | Lab Study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27714895]

Brief summary:

Stem cell therapy for neurodegenerative diseases have shown poor outcomes. This study reasons that this may be due to lack of understanding of pathways related to such diseases.

The study investigated the role of cannabidiol on genes associated with Alzheimer’s using using human gingiva-derived mesenchymal stromal cells. This was done in an in vitro model (culture dish).

Results showed that there was considerable modification of gene expression of stem cells connected to Alzheimer’s, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and excitotoxicity.

end study summary

Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study.
Jun 2016 | Clinical Trial | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26757043]

Brief summary:

With a given premise of THC as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, this clinical trial looked at whether medical cannabis oil (containing THC and CBD) would be effective in relieving behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

The medical cannabis oil was given in addition pharmaceutical drugs already prescribed for this group of 11 trial participants. The tial lasted for 4 weeks.

Results showed that delusions, agitation/aggression, irritability, apathy, sleep distress and caregiver distress were all reduced.

The conclusion was that medical cannabis oil in addition to pharmacotherapy was a safe and promising treatment option.

end study summary

Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Agitation and Aggression in Alzheimer's Disease.
Aug 2015 | Review Paper | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26271310]

Brief summary:

Utilizing the endocannabinoid system and synthetic cannabinoids for the modulation of neuroinflammation that is related to Alzheimer’s disease was a given for this review.

They looked at many studies, case studies and trials. Findings from 6 studies showed significant benefits from synthetic cannabinoids, specifically dronabinol and nabilone.

It was noted that conclusions were limited by small sample sizes, short trial duration, and lack of placebo control in some of these studies.

end study summary

Cannabidiol promotes amyloid precursor protein ubiquitination and reduction of beta amyloid expression in SHSY5YAPP+ cells through PPARγ involvement.
Jul 2014 | Lab Study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24288245]

Brief summary:

This study acknowledged that cannabidiol interfered with several specific pathways triggered by the beta amyloid peptide, but how it did this (the mechanism) was not clear.

So, they conducted experiments that showed that the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) was involved. This is another of the growing list of endocannbinoid receptors being discovered.

They also showed that the specific neuroprotective effects of CBD were isolated to the PPARγ receptor.

end study summary

Microglia: are a type of neuroglia (glial cell, neurvous system cell) located throughout the brain and spinal cord. Microglia account for 10–15% of all cells found within the brain. As the resident macrophage cells, they act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system.

Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids reduce microglial activation in vitro and in vivo: relevance to Alzheimer's disease.
Jun 2011 | Lab Study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21350020]

Brief summary:

This author is unsure why microglial activity is not wanted (see definition above) – but this study suggests that microglial activity has been shown as a feature of Alzheimer’s disease (as a type of auto-immune response?).

In the present study, they compared the effects of cannbidiol with those of other cannabinoids on nervous system (microglial) cell functions in vitro and on learning behavior and cytokine expression after beta amyloid administration to induce microglial activiation in mice – in vivo.

The conclusion was that CBD is able to modulate microglial activity in culture and produce beneficial effects in animal subjects model of Alzheimer’s.

end study summary

Cannabidiol: a promising drug for neurodegenerative disorders?
Dec 2009 | Review Paper | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19228180]

Brief summary:

This review was aimed at inflammation as the main cause of neurodegenerative diseases and possible solutions with respect to cannabis compounds that displayed promising benefits.

“Cannabidiol (CBD), which lacks any unwanted psychotropic effect, may represent a very promising agent with the highest prospect for therapeutic use” – direct quote.

end study summary

Cannabinoids for the treatment of dementia.
Apr 2009 | Review Paper | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19370677]

Brief summary:

Well, not every study is positive in their findings on how beneficial cannabidiol or any cannabinoids for use in the treatment of disease. This is one of them. However, this review (and it was just a review) was conducted back in 2009, before many other studies after that year. Additionally, it appears they were looking for studies conducted on human dementia patients and not animal subjects – they only came up with one study meeting their criteria.

After reviewing many studies and trials ( and only finding one study), the conclusion was that they could find no evidence that cannabinoids are effective in the improvement of disturbed behaviour in dementia or in the treatment of other symptoms of dementia.

end study summary

Gliosis: a nonspecific reactive change of glial cells (cells surrounding neurons) in response to damage to the central nervous system

Cannabidiol in vivo blunts beta-amyloid induced neuroinflammation by suppressing IL-1beta and iNOS expression.
Aug 2007 | Lab Study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17592514]

Brief summary:

To confirm the results of a previous study showing that cannabidiol inhibited gliosis in vivo (in living organism), this study conducted experiments on mice models.

The mouse model was of Alzheimer’s related neuroinflammation. Mice were inoculated with human peptide into the right dorsal hippocampus, and treated daily with CBD and a non-CBD substance for 7 days.

The dosage of CBD used was 2.5 or 10 mg per kg of body weight.

In contrast to vehicle, CBD significantly inhibited markers of neuroinflammation in the animal subjects. This was also dose dependent, meaning the higher the dose, the greater the result.

The results of this study confirm the in vivo anti-inflammatory actions of CBD.

end study summary

Neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component from Cannabis sativa, on beta-amyloid-induced toxicity in PC12 cells.
Apr 2004 | Lab study | [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15030397]

Brief summary:

This study looked at the effect of cannabidiol on peptide toxicity in rat cells in culture. The toxic effect was increased reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, cell death signaling cascade, increased intracellular calcium, and DNA fragmentation.

Treatment of the cells with cannabidiol prior to toxic peptide exposure significantly elevated cell survival while it decreased
reactive oxygen species production,
lipid peroxidation,
cell death signaling levels,
DNA fragmentation
and intracellular calcium.

Results indicated that CBD exerts a combination of neuroprotective, anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic (anti cell death) effects against peptide toxicity.

end study summary

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