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Condition Report: Dementia

October 28, 2019

OVERVIEW

In 2017, the National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine released a comprehensive report, “The Health Effects of Cannabis & Cannabinoids”, based on the research that had been done to date. Following that valuable report, we’ve been providing weekly Condition Reports on 2018 research for each of the conditions cited in that report, such as chronic pain, cancer, anorexia, and more – these reports seek to provide evidence for both medical benefits and risks for each condition.

Because prohibitive cannabis regulations have, for years, limited the amount of available information, we believe it is important to educate the public about up-to-date research. Although medical cannabis usage is still both controversial and inconclusive, the World Health Organization has urged for nations to remove cannabis from Schedule IV from their list of drug scheduling, which would allow the protection for researchers to conduct more comprehensive studies.

Canneconomy.com and its affiliates aim to provide general information about cannabis consumption in the hopes for policymakers, users, researchers, and the general public to make informed decisions about cannabis and its derived products. In order to do this properly, we must seek and report the best available research for a better understanding of cannabis as it takes on the medical field.

 

For an overview on how cannabis can be used to treat other medical conditions, please visit the following Condition Reports:

 

Dementia Highlights:

-Common pharmaceutical treatments for Dementia are often associated with significant adverse effects.

-Cannabinoids have been shown to have neuroprotective effects and can also reduce neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. These types of effects may be very beneficial in treating symptoms of dementia.

-Eight reports have been submitted regarding cannabinoids as a treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder; 117 of the patients in these studies also have dementia.

-One study contraindicated the usage of cannabis for dementia patients.

-Another study found that hempseed significantly improved memory and cognitive functions on mice due to its neuroprotective and anti-neuroinflammatory effects. Scientists encourage human studies to be done to further assess hempseed’s anti-neuroinflammatory effects.

 

THERAPEUTIC FINDINGS: DEMENTIA

Antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and cognitive improvers are pharmacological agents used to treat Borderline personality disorder. Unfortunately, their use is often associated with significant adverse effects among older dementia adults. Additional pharmacological strategies that are more suitable for use among BPSD individuals must be identified. It is shown that cannabinoids can reduce neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation and have neuroprotective effects by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors (Barco et al., 2018). CB1 receptors in the brain cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, and cerebellum have a high density (Barco et al., 2018). In animal models, CB1 receptors also have anxious and aggressive behaviors. In contrast, CB2 receptor activation has been associated with decreased pro-inflammatory compound production (Moore, 2018).

A literature review published in the Neurodegenerative Disease Management Journal shows that a total of eight reports have been submitted on cannabinoids for the treatment of BPSD (Tampi, Young and Tampi, 2018). These studies included a total of 117 people with dementia diagnoses (67 for Alzheimer’s type of dementia, 8 for dementia vascular, and 42 for dementia non-specified).

Seven out of eight studies from this systematic review showed that cannabinoid use improved the BPSD symptoms, while the remaining study found that THC was of no value compared to placebo when it was used in the treatment of BPSD for 12 weeks at a maximum dose of 3 mg a day (Tampi, Young and Tampi, 2018). However, Tampi et al. discuss the studies did not show whether any BPSD reacted better to cannabinoid treatment, and four of the eight trials reported no significant adverse effects on the use of cannabinoids.

In the Netherlands, an observational study approved by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Ethics Committee for Legal and Criminological Research examined the effects of cannabis and consumption in mental recognition carefully by performing a field study in Amsterdam (Vredeveldt, Charman, Blanken and Hooydonk, 2018). The researchers recruited 120 people (92 men and 28 women), who were visitors to Amsterdam coffee shops.

Participants in the study watched a 2-minute video in a convenience store depicting a robbery; then Vredeveldt, Charman, Blanken and Hooydonk (2018) instructed the viewers to identify the said perpetrator in a constructed photo lineup. Their findings showed that participants who smoked cannabis in the coffee shops reported significantly fewer details of the crime than participants who had not smoked cannabis, with no inaccurate record differences. As far as in line-up identification, decisions between sober and intoxicated participants showed no significant differences. However, in their accurate identification, intoxicated participants were significantly more confident than sober participants, and this resulted in a substantially better correlation of confidence and accuracy (Vredeveldt, Charman, Blanken and Hooydonk, 2018).

Ultimately, the study conducted in Amsterdam opened up discussion in the long terms of memory for those patients who have higher risk to suffer from dementia further arguing that the impaired memory in patients who are not currently diagnosed as demented, can only further contraindicate the usage of cannabis for dementia patients as memory deteriorates in non-dementia, intoxicated individuals (Vredeveldt, Charman, Blanken and Hooydonk, 2018).

In China, Zhou, Wang, Ji, Lou and Fan conducted a breakthrough study about dementia in 2018. The researchers analyzed hempseed extract containing phenylpropionamides (TPA), and its chemical profile and content were obtained using high-performance liquid chromatography technology based on a previous study (Zhou et al., 2018). The anti-neuroinflammatory effect of TPA extract was evaluated using a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced mouse model. Furthermore, TPA attenuated LPS-induced hippocampal neuronal damage in mice. The results showed that the TPA treatment significantly improves the learning and memory and cognitive function of LPS-induced neuroinflammatory mice, more specifically preventing nerve damage in the hippocampal CA3 induced by LPS. Thus, TPA has neuroprotective effects. Zhou et al. urges for the findings to be investigated in more detail, and conduct human studies to assess, including the use, the anti-neuroinflammatory function of hempseed.