Alzheimer’s Disease & the Endocannabinoid System

by Msnbctv news staff


Many parallels exist between hashish and psychedelics. Amongst them are the varied therapeutic results for which each lessons of medicine are actually being investigated, from combating ache and irritation to aiding therapy of some psychiatric issues. Additionally on the listing: Alzheimer’s Illness, the commonest neurodegenerative illness with as many as 6.2 million People residing with the situation. (The following most prevalent is Parkinson’s Illness at 1.2 million.)

On the psychedelic entrance, a assessment article printed final 12 months within the journal Frontiers in Synaptic Neurosciencemakes a robust case for LSD and psilocybin as potential remedies for this progressively disabling situation. A examine now underway at Johns Hopkins College’s Middle for Psychedelic and Consciousness Analysis and one other printed in 20192 by psychedelic drugs firm Eleusis sign critical curiosity in Alzheimer’s among the many subject’s heavy hitters.

And on the earth of hashish science, the plant has been studied as a possible therapy for Alzheimer’s Illness since no less than the flip of the century. At this time curiosity within the topic is larger than ever. The scientific writer Frontiers not too long ago issued a name for papers on “focusing on the endocannabinoidome in neurodegenerative issues,” recognizing the topic as a “scorching analysis space.” (The time period “endocannabinoidome” refers back to the expanded endocannabinoid system, together with extra mediators, enzymes, and molecular targets.)

In September 2021 alone, three papers appeared within the scientific literature summarizing a lot of what’s identified about Alzheimer’s Illness and the endocannabinoid system.

CBD for Alzheimer’s Illness

An article printed within the journal Mind Sciences3 evaluations how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could also be concerned within the growth of Alzheimer’s Illness – and the way cannabidiol (CBD) and different cannabinoids could also be used to assist deal with it. The dialogue will get fairly technical, however listed here are the authors’ highlights of what the science from the final couple a long time suggests:

  • Postmortem evaluation has revealed modifications to a number of elements of the ECS within the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Expression of CB1 cannabinoid receptors is decreased, whereas expression of CB2 receptors is markedly elevated within the frontal or parahippocampal cortex, “in all probability in a time-dependent method.”
  • Elevated expression of CB2 receptors is pronounced in and round amyloid plaques (aggregates of abnormally configured proteins which can be thought-about an indicator of Alzheimer’s Illness and cognitive decline), indicating a correlation between the ECS and plaque deposition.
  • Expression of the enzymes FAAH [fatty acid amide hydrolase] and MAGL [monoacylglycerol lipase] – which metabolize the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) , respectively – will increase within the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. So too does expression of a 3rd key enzyme, DAGL [diacylglycerol lipase], which synthesizes 2-AG.
  • Given the modulatory results of cannabinoids on the ECS, cannabinoids could also be good candidates for treating Alzheimer’s Illness. Scientific trials have already reported that cannabinoids may be helpful for decreasing some signs in sufferers with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Whereas each THC and CBD supply promise on this respect and are identified to be neuroprotective, “the concomitant psychotropic results of THC pose an issue,” the authors write. (THC’s intoxicating results are mediated by CB1, although the compound additionally binds to CB2; CBD doesn’t have a robust affinity for both.) Consequently, CBD has attracted rising consideration for its therapeutic potential.

Focusing on Cannabinoid Receptor 2 to Deal with Dementia

A second latest assessment, printed within the Journal of Neuroscience Analysis4 in early September, takes a barely totally different tack. As an alternative of specializing in plant cannabinoids, it attracts upon most of the identical elements linking the ECS with Alzheimer’s Illness to make a case for selectively focusing on CB2 (which doesn’t mediate psychotropic results) when growing novel medicine to deal with Alzheimer’s and associated situations.

“Within the therapy of neurodegenerative illnesses, CB2 agonists have proven promising outcomes,” the India-based authors write. (An “agonist” prompts a receptor and causes it to sign, whereas an antagonist blocks the receptor.) “The experimental proof means that they might be helpful within the administration of Alzheimer’s Illness by decreasing irritation, tau hyperphosphorylation, beta-amyloid aggregation, [and] oxidative stress, and enhancing cognitive operate.”

The paper cites quite a few examples of selective CB2 agonists developed and examined for treating ache, arthritis, irritation, and different situations by firms together with GlaxoSmithKline, Glenmark Prescription drugs, Corbus Prescription drugs, and Eli Lilly. Up to now, nonetheless, medical scientists haven’t been capable of translate early-phase scientific trials involving CB2 agonists into viable, clinically efficient prescription drugs.

Alzheimer’s & Intestine Microbiota

In recent times the intestine microbiome has emerged as an interesting participant in human well being and illness. Disturbances to this method have been related to a broad vary of opposed outcomes together with weight problems, most cancers, and (you guessed it) neurodegenerative issues comparable to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Much less typically addressed in in style accounts of the intestine microbiome are its interactions with the endocannabinoid system. As Venture CBD defined in a 2020 article, the ECS serves as a type of bridge between resident micro organism and the physique itself, together with the mind, by relaying alerts forwards and backwards inside this symbiotic, mutually helpful relationship.

In a latest assessment within the journal Life5 , a workforce of Italian researchers makes use of this identical metaphor to conceptualize how the ECS could also be key to mediating the connection between intestine flora dysbiosis and Alzheimer’s physiopathology. The 2 interacting programs might function “frequent denominators” within the illness, the researchers counsel. “The overlapping roles of the encodcannabinoid system and the microbiome…counsel {that a} novel method comparable to modulating the microbiota by way of [the ECS] might present new therapeutic views for treating AD,” they conclude.


​Nate Seltenrich, an impartial science journalist based mostly within the San Francisco Bay Space, covers a variety of topics together with environmental well being, neuroscience, and pharmacology.

Copyright, Venture CBD. Might not be reprinted with out permission.


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