An interview with Dr. Ethan Russo:
In this interview, Dr. Russo shares an informed and insightful vision of how cannabis-derived medicine stands to benefit two of the more intractable neurological conditions facing older adults, Parkinson’s (PD) and Alzheimer’s (AD) diseases.
Quotes: The best results in PD were reported in a Czech study in 2004, in which patients ate raw leaves of cannabis for as much as three months and reported significant improvement in overall function, tremor, bradykinesia and rigidity, with few side effects.
Both THC and particularly CBD are known neuroprotective agents that hold the potential to slow or perhaps even halt the degenerative process. On the symptom side, THC as a single agent has proven beneficial in AD patients in reducing nocturnal agitation, improving sleep and appetite. Observations of nursing home patients in California with dementia have produced similar benefits as well as reducing the need for nursing intervention and amounts of other drugs.
We discussed above the role of alpha-pinene to combat memory deficits in AD and PD. Linalool, a component of lavender essential oil as well as cannabis, has been demonstrated to calm agitation in AD. The terpene limonene, common to citrus and cannabis, is a powerful antidepressant and immune stimulator. Caryophyllene, a terpenoid with the distinction of also being a cannabinoid, is of key importance in AD, as it may help in clearance of beta-amyloid waste in the brain.
A severe price may be paid if cannabis-based medicines are devoid of THC. It is clear from the above that THC has a major role to play in both symptomatic treatment of dementia and quite possibly in preventative benefit.