Medical Marijuana For Alzheimer's In Tennessee
Does Alzheimer’s Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Tennessee?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, affecting over 6 million people living in the U.S, a number expected to increase to 13 million people in just under 30 years from now. While a cure does not exist for Alzheimer’s, the medical community has dedicated many resources to understanding the degenerative brain condition.
One potential plant that has come up in the conversation is cannabis as a potential medicine. In ongoing studies, researchers are finding reasonably strong links between cannabis and the brain’s role in aging and degeneration. Because of this, cannabis has been implemented in the treatment plans of many Alzheimer’s patients, often showing improved results of cognitive function.
In the pursuit of investigating the relationship between cannabis and Alzheimer’s, Tennessee has approved Alzheimer’s as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.
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What Is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain, causing loss of memory and cellular death. It is a chronic condition that will worsen over time and can unfortunately lead to premature death. Alzheimer’s is diagnosed with either mild, early symptoms, or advanced with severe symptoms, but the conditions is expected to worsen in both cases.
Patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s can experience a variety of dementia-related symptoms that can lead to the inability to perform daily life activities.
It is a common symptom of patients with Alzheimer’s to forget important details about their life, such as names or memories of loved ones, family members, or their environment. In severe cases, this can require full-time care.
What is the Prognosis for Alzheimer’s?
The prognosis for Alzheimer’s can vary and is determined by the stage it is in.
The average survival rate is around 8-20 years, while those experiencing mild symptoms may experience a longer lifespan, and those experiencing more severe symptoms may see a shorter lifespan.
Currently there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, however there are medications commonly prescribed that can help relieve symptoms, or in some cases aide in reducing the progression of the condition.
Unfortunately, many of these medications have undesired side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and in some cases, anorexia.
Due to these medications having very unpleasant side effects, patients and physicians have taken a second look at cannabis as a potential medicine to treat not only the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but possibly the condition itself.
Does Medical Marijuana Help with Alzheimer’s?
Cannabis has been linked to improve brain function, by way of compounds in the plant producing anti-inflammatory effects that may help reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s and treat some of the symptoms of the condition.
The precise cause of Alzheimer’s is not known, however there are several occurrences of molecular problems in the brain that are thought to possibly play a role in the development or progression of the condition.
One of these molecular events is the buildup of amyloid-plaques in parts of the brain. These sticky deposits have a high concentration of a protein called beta-amyloid that accumulates on the outside of cells.
Research has shown that there is consistent over accumulation of beta-amyloid within the nerve cells in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
A high level of beta-amyloid is associated with cellular inflammation and higher rates of cellular death. A high rate of cellular death is not common in the brain, and may play a critical role in the development or progression of degrading cognitive function.
Because cannabis is a known anti-inflammatory, it has been studied as a potential treatment for the overaccumulation of beta-amyloid.
Using Cannabis to Treat Inflammation & Prevent Cell-Death
Early studies suggest that cannabis as an anti-inflammatory may reduce the buildup of amyloid-plaques and aide in preventing the cellular death the overaccumulation causes.
Inflammation in the brain was originally thought to be caused by immune-like cells in the body, not nerve cells. But after observing the cellular inflammation caused by the beta-amyloid protein in nerve cells, the Salk Institute published a study showing that nerve cells are critical to inflammation in the brain, a crucial link to how Alzheimer’s might develop.
By exposing the cells to THC, they found that the beta-amyloid proteins were reduced overall, and the inflammatory response from the nerve cells was not activated.
Other studies have shown a significant link between THC and the reduction of amyloid-beta, preventing cellular death caused by the overabundance of the protein.
The Need for More Research
These findings prove the need for more study on the relationship between our endocannabinoid system and the brain’s function. It is a strong possibility that the function of the endocannabinoid system may play an important part in the diagnoses and prognosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The symptoms that medical cannabis can help alleviate in Alzheimer’s may include:
Those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s might have a much better quality of life with medical marijuana considering the anti-inflammatory properties the plant has.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that medical marijuana offers a cure or a considerably lengthened lifespan.
While more research is needed to conduct full analysis on the relationship between dementia-related conditions and cannabis as a potential medicine, the link between Alzheimer’s and medical marijuana is strong enough that Tennessee has approved it as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana cards.
If you’re interested in learning more about using medical cannabis to help with Alzheimer’s, consult with one of our medical marijuana doctors and we can help you at every step of the way.
Become a Tennessee Cannabis Patient
Qualifying Tennessee patients will soon be able to meet with one of our certified physicians and get approved for medical cannabis treatment.
Reserve your appointment today and get $25 off when we start processing applications!
We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way, feel free to give us a call at 844-249-8714, and we can answer your questions about getting medical cannabis in Tennessee.