Alzheimer disease (also known as Alzheimer’s disease or simply Alzheimers) was discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who diagnosed it following an autopsy on the brain of a person who died of an unknown mental illness.
Alzheimer’s actually begins damaging the brain up to a decade prior to the onset of any form of short-term memory loss. It is this memory loss that is the infamous first symptom of the disease.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and plagues about five million Americans. It is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder and the most common form of dementia. In fact, it is estimated that Alzheimer disease causes 60 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia. One in three senior citizens will eventually die from this disease or another form of dementia.
2016 Israeli Study
In a study published in January 2016, a team from Israel comprised of medical researchers from Tel-Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University, added medical cannabis oil to the treatment regimens of a small group of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. Researches administered the medical cannabis oil to deliver THC to study participants. The objective of the study was to measure the efficacy and safety of cannabis oil as a supplement to traditional pharmacotherapy for the relief of “behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.”
Concluded the study:
“Adding medical cannabis oil to Alzheimer’s disease patients’ pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.”
This study was conducted to further explore the previously proven background that “Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”
Cannabis has also been proven to provide relief from several other symptoms of aging experienced by seniors, including arthritis, chronic pain and loss of appetite. While initial studies are promising, the neuroprotective qualities of the plant should be explored further.
Until such research is permitted in the United States and Congress is willing to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, similar studies will be lacking in the States. As long as cannabis is legally considered as dangerous and addictive as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, patients, caretakers, and physicians will lack the knowledge to apply the best strains of cannabis to a variety of diseases and conditions. Similarly, American cannabis breeders and cultivators will be left to rely upon anecdotal patient testimonies and research conducted outside the borders of the U.S.