Researchers have found that high doses of CBD could help restore function in early-onset Alzheimer’s.
A two-week course of high doses of CBD helps reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – and improves cognition, investigators report.
Proteins TREM2 and IL-33 are important to the ability of the brain to consume dead cells and other debris like the beta-amyloid plaque that piles up in patients’ brains – both of which are reduced in Alzheimer’s patients.
Researchers have reported for the first time that CBD normalises levels and function, improving cognition in an experimental model of early onset familial Alzheimer’s.
CBD also reduces levels of the immune protein IL-6, which is associated with the high inflammation levels found in Alzheimer’s, says Dr Babak Baban, immunologist and associate dean for research in the Dental College of Georgia and the study’s corresponding author.
There is a dire need for novel therapies to improve outcomes for patients with this condition, which is considered one of the fastest-growing health threats in the United States, DCG and Medical College of Georgia investigators write in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Right now we have two classes of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s,” says co-author, Dr John Morgan, neurologist and director of the Movement and Memory Disorder Programs in the MCG Department of Neurology.
“One class increases levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which also are decreased in Alzheimer’s, and the other works through the NMDA receptors involved in communication between neurons and important to memory.
“But we have nothing that gets to the pathophysiology of the disease.”
The DCG and MCG investigators explored CBD’s ability to address some of the key brain systems that go awry in Alzheimer’s.
It appears to normalise levels of IL-33, a protein found in the brain, which helps sound the alarm that there is an invader like the beta-amyloid accumulation.
There is also emerging evidence of its role as a regulatory protein, reducing inflammation and restoring balance in the immune system, Baban says.
CBD also improved expression of triggering receptors of TREM2, which is found on the cell surface where it combines with another protein to transmit signals that activate immune cells.
Low levels of TREM2 and rare variations in TREM2 are associated with Alzheimer’s, and in their mouse model TREM2 and IL-33 were both low.
They found CBD treatment increased levels of IL-33 and TREM2 — sevenfold and tenfold, respectively.
CBD’s impact on brain function in the mouse model of early onset Alzheimer’s was assessed by methods like the ability to differentiate between a familiar item and a new one, as well as observing the rodents’ movement.
People with Alzheimer’s may experience movement problems like stiffness and an impaired gait, says Dr Hesam Khodadadi, a graduate student working in Baban’s lab.
Mice with the disease run in an endless tight circle, behavior which stopped with CBD treatment, says Khodadadi, the study’s first author.
Next steps include determining optimal doses and giving CBD earlier in the disease process. The compound was given in the late stages for the published study, and now the investigators are using it at the first signs of cognitive decline, Khodadadi says.
They also are exploring delivery systems including the use of an inhaler that should help deliver the CBD more directly to the brain.
Familial disease is an inherited version of Alzheimer’s in which symptoms typically surface in the 30s and 40s and occurs in about 10-15 percent of patients.
CBD should be at least equally effective in the more common, nonfamilial type Alzheimer’s, which likely have more targets for CBD, Baban notes. Researchers are already looking at its potential in a model of this more common type and moving forward to establish a clinical trial.
The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to make a ruling by early June on a new drug aducanumab, which would be the first to attack and help clear beta amyloid.
Read the full study.
New studies examine effects of THC and CBD on stroke
New data suggests both positive and negative effects of cannabis in stroke patients
A new study has shown that pre-treatment CBD may have a neuroprotective effect in stroke patients.
The study aimed to investigate the effect of CBD on oxidative stress and cell death which occurs in ischemic stroke patients.
It revealed that the cannabinoid may reduce the destructive effects of cell damage associated with stroke.
Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. They occur when a blood clot blocks a flow of oxygen or blood to the brain. This takes place in arteries that have been narrowed or blocked over time by fatty deposits (plaques). The most common symptoms of a stroke include facial drooping on one side, not being able to lift your arms and slurred speech.
If this occurs, it is vital that a person be taken to the emergency room immediately.
The National Institute of Health Care and Excellence (NICE) estimate that there are around 100,000 strokes every year in the UK. It is also thought that 1.3 million people live with the effects of a stroke.
Stroke recovery and CBD results
The Study showed that CBD reduced the amount of infarction in those samples which had been given the cannabinoid. Infarction refers to the death of tissue as a result of a lack of blood supply and is commonly due to a blood vessel being obstructed or narrowed.
There were also differences in malondialdehyde level (MDA) – a common marker of oxidative stress – between the brains of the CBD group and the vehicle group.
It also revealed that CBD may help to protect tissue by preventing further damage.
THC and stroke risk
According to findings, cannabis consumers who experience a stroke known as an aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH), are twice as likely to develop further complications.
An aSAH occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts on the surface of the brain leading to bleeding between the brain and tissue that covers it. It can result in neurological disabilities, long-term slurred speech or even death. It is estimated that aSAH affects around eight people per 100,000 of the population each year, accounting for six per cent of first strokes.
The study by the American Stroke Association suggested there is twice the risk of developing delayed cerebral ischemia for cannabis consumers. The researchers analysed data from 1,000 patients who had received treatment for bleeding over a 12 year period. In the group of participants, 36 per cent developed cerebral ischemia and 50 per cent had moderate to severe disabilities.
When comparing the results of patients who tested positive for THC with those who did not, they found cannabis consumers were 2.7 times more likely to develop cerebral ischemia. They were also 2.8 times more likely to develop long-term moderate to severe physical disabilities.
However, compared to those who tested negative for THC, the cannabis group did not have larger aneurysms, higher blood pressures or worse stroke symptoms when admitted to the hospital. They did not have any higher cardiovascular risk factors than the negative group.
Researchers are now conducting further studies in which they hope to better understand if THC can impact aneurysm formation and rupture.
New study shows CBD may prevent Covid-19 infection
Researchers are calling for more trials to determine if CBD could be a preventative or early treatment for the virus.
Researchers are recommending clinical trials to examine if CBD could help to prevent Covid infection after more positive findings have been published.
Researchers from the University of Chicago have reported that CBD may stop the infection of Covid-19 by blocking its ability to replicate in the lungs.
A number of cannabinoids including CBD and THC were tested along with 7-Hydroxycannabidiol (7-OH-CBD) which is thought to be produced when cannabidiol is processed by the body.
The study found that CBD showed a significant negative association with SARS-CoV-2 positive tests in a national sample of patients who were taking high doses of CBD, prescribed for epilepsy.
As a result of their findings, researchers are calling for more clinical trials to determine whether CBD could eventually be used as a preventative or early treatment for the virus.
Covid and CBD study
Researchers treated human lung cells with a non-toxic dose of CBD for two hours before exposing the cells to SARS-CoV-2 and monitoring them for the virus and the viral spike protein.
They found that, above a certain threshold concentration, CBD inhibited the virus’ ability to replicate.
Further investigation found that CBD had the same effect in two other types of cells and for three variants of SARS-CoV-2 in addition to the original strain.
CBD did not affect the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to enter the cell. Instead, CBD was effective at blocking replication early in the infection cycle and six hours after the virus had already infected the cell.
Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 affects the host cell by hijacking its gene expression machinery to produce more copies of itself and its viral proteins. This effect can be observed by tracking virus-induced changes in cellular RNAs. High concentrations of CBD almost completely eradicated the expression of viral RNAs.
When it came to the other cannabinoids, CBD was found to be the only potentially potent agent. There was no or limited antiviral activity noted by the similar cannabinoids including THC, CBDA, CBDV, CBC or even CBG.
Marsha Rosner, PhD, professor and senior author of the study said it was a completely unexpected result, she commented: “CBD has anti-inflammatory effects, so we thought that maybe it would stop the second phase of COVID infection involving the immune system, the so-called ‘cytokine storm.’ Surprisingly, it directly inhibited viral replication in lung cells.
She added: “We just wanted to know if CBD would affect the immune system. No one in their right mind would have ever thought that it blocked viral replication, but that’s what it did.”
The researchers do caution that this is not possible with commercially available CBD. The CBD tested was high-purity and also medical grade.
However, Rosner cautioned: “Going to your corner bakery and buying some CBD muffins or gummy bears probably won’t do anything. The commercially available CBD powder we looked at, which was off the shelf and something you could order online, was sometimes surprisingly of high purity but also of inconsistent quality. It is also hard to get into an oral solution that can be absorbed without the special, FDA-approved formulation.”
CBD and Covid studies
This is the second study to be released showing the potential for cannabinoids in Covid management and prevention.
A study by Oregon State University has revealed that the compounds cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), may have the ability to prevent the virus that causes Covid-19 from entering human cells.
Researchers and scientists, led by Richard van Breedan, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a step in the process the virus takes for infection.
Targeting compounds that block the virus-receptor interaction has been helpful for patients with other viral infections such as HIV-1 and hepatitis.
The researchers and scientists identified the two cannabinoid acids through a screening technique, developed previously in van Breeman’s laboratory. The team also screened different botanicals such as red clover, hops, wild yam and three types of liquorice.
Partner of Irish politician “six years seizure free” faces charges over medical cannabis use
John Montaine uses medical cannabis to manage his epilepsy – and is said to be six years seizure free.
The partner of a sitting Irish TD is contesting charges of cannabis possession, saying he uses it medicinally to manage his epilepsy.
John Montaine, who is the partner of Clare Sinn Fein TD Violet Ann Wynne, was charged with the alleged illegal possession of cannabis on February 11, 2021, at his family home, the Irish Independent reported.
Mr Montaine contests the charges and his partner Deputy Wynne has previously spoken publicly about how he uses cannabis medicinally to manage his epilepsy.
Speaking after the initial court hearing in November, Deputy Wynne said in March her partner would be “six years seizure free”.
She went on to say that it has improved his quality of life “100 per cent, without a doubt”.
“There was always some kind of issue – say John having a number of fits within the one month or losing teeth or suffering with severe migraine, but since John has been using the medicinal cannabis, he has had a better quality of life,” Deputy Wynne told the Independent.
She added: “It has also freed myself up. John would have been on disability allowance and I would have had to have been his carer but since using the medicinal cannabis, he doesn’t suffer from any of those issues any longer.”
Medical cannabis is legal in Ireland, but access to a prescription is limited.
Despite legislation being signed off in 2019, Ireland’s Health minister Stephen Donnelly only announced funding for it in January 2021, with the programme only becoming fully operational in November.
Four cannabis-based medicines are expected to be available through the MCAP, to people living with one of three qualifying conditions. These include intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, severe treatment-resistant epilepsy and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Mr Montaine’s solicitor appeared in Kilrush District Court on behalf of his client this week, where his case was adjourned until 15 March.
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