After a two-week course of high-dose cannabidiol scientists have realized that function of two proteins key to reducing accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, have incredibly improved, according to a press release. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University used an experimental mouse model of early onset familial Alzheimer’s, wherein they also found that cannabidiol improved cognition.
The proteins in question are TREM 2 and IL-33. They both ate crucial to the ability of the brain’s immune cells to destroy dead cells and other debris, that piles up in patients’ brains. It’s known that patients suffering from Alzheimer’s have decreased levels of both proteins.
In the mice model, cannabidiol normalized levels and function of the two proteins, while decreasing levels of IL-6, an inflammatory protein associated with the high levels of inflammation found in Alzheimer’s.
MCG neurologist Dr. John Morgan, neurologist from MCG, explains that there are currently only two classes of drugs that treat Alzheimer’s: One that increases levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is decreased in Alzheimer’s, and another that works improving communication between neurons, important to memory. Unfortunately, Dr. Morgan points out, “we have nothing that gets to the pathophysiology of the disease.”
In the mice model the scientists focused on the effect of cannabidiol on brain function on early onset Alzheimer’s and it was assessed by checking the ability to differentiate between a familiar item and a new one. Researchers also observed the way the mice moved: patients with Alzheimer’s are known to be able to experience movement problems such as stiffness, while mice with the disease run in an “endless tight circle,” and that behavior has stopped with treatment.
The next step in the study – according to Dr. Hesam Khodadadi, the study’s first author – will focus on determining the optimal doses and giving cannabidiol earlier in the disease process. at the same time they will experiment different delivery systems to help deliver the cannabidiol more precisely to the brain.