Let's Talk About Dementia: World Alzheimer's Month

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Each year, September is recognized as World Alzheimer’s Month to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. Dementia is the collective name for brain syndromes affecting memory, thought process, behavior, and emotion, which affects almost 50 million people worldwide. Dementia mainly affects men and women over the age of 65, though early onset dementia is still prevalent.

There are over 100 forms of dementia — Alzheimer’s being the most common. Alzheimer's disease disrupts the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters found in the brain. Symptoms may include loss of memory, personality and mood changes, and difficulty in performing routine tasks. Living with memory loss and confusion is understandably difficult for patients, as well as caregivers and family members. World Alzheimer’s Month brings to light these difficult situations and promotes patience and understanding.

In recent years, studies on the use of cannabis and CBD in treating symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia have shown promising results. It’s important to note, however, that there is no cure for dementia. Medical cannabis will not prevent or cure the disease, rather slow its progression and improve quality of life. In a 2016 study for Aging and Mechanics of Disease, scientists found that THC may aid in the removal of toxic clumps of amyloid beta protein in the brain, which are thought to kickstart the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia patients don’t need to feel “high” in order to receive benefits from the cannabis plant. According to researchers at California’s Salk Institute, CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid could help remove dementia from brain cells by reducing inflammation, reducing oxygen buildup, and working as a brain stimulant and neuroprotectant. Additionally, CBD may also reduce stress and anxiety — common symptoms stemming from the confusion of memory loss and the decline of other brain functions.

Dementia is NOT a normal sign of aging. We encourage our patients to speak with a physician to determine the best treatment plan for your symptoms. Caretakers may also speak with Kayla, our on-site Pharmacist to see which strains or products may improve the quality of life for family members suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

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Jennifer Culpepper