Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by loss of memory, disorientation to time and place, and a loss of learned behavior. In its advanced stages patients are reduced to needing round the clock custodial care. Since AD is a disease of the elderly, our rapidly aging population is likely to be responsible for a huge increase in the number of cases in the coming years.
A build up of amyloid protein in the brain is felt to be at least partially responsible for the loss of brain function. Clinical experience is very limited because AD patients rarely use cannabis because they are not functioning well enough to make an independent decision to use it and those caring for them are not aware that cannabis may be of therapeutic value.
Research on rats, however has demonstrated that cannabinoids can reduce the cognitive and inflammatory effects of amyloid build up. Other research indicates the cannabinoids can slow the rate of amyloid build up by interfering with the enzyme that produces it. More research is clearly justified as well as human clinical trials since, to date there are no effective treatments to this heartbreaking disease.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal neurological disease caused by the progressive loss of motor nerve cells in the spinal cord. Clinical trials are non-existent but there are anecdotal reports and some limited research indicating that cannabis may slow the progression of disease as well as moderate some of its symptoms. As with other diseases, more research is needed.