Views From The Leaf

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Alzheimer’s Disease

February 17, 2020

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s and is very rare. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer after he noticed a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Dr. Alzheimer studied the woman’s brain tissue and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary). Still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease, these plaques and tangles occur within the brain as well as another feature, the loss of connections between nerve cells in the brain. The nerve cells (neurons) transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body. Alzheimer’s disease has many other complex brain changes that affect individuals who are diagnosed with the disease. Research into the disease has shown that the damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is an essential area of the brain because it is where our memories are formed. As the neurons in the brain begin to die, additional parts of the brain are affected. Late-stage Alzheimer’s can be described by widespread damage of brain tissue, and brain tissue becoming irreversibly shrunk.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood. Nearly 70% of the risk is believed to be inherited from a person’s parents, with genetics playing a major role. A history of head injuries, depression, and hypertension are other high-risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is possible by cognitive testing with medical imaging and blood tests. Oftentimes, initial symptoms are mistaken for normal aging. Activities that have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s include mental and physical exercise as well as avoiding obesity. Unfortunately, there are no medications or supplements that have been shown to decrease risk.

In the United States, nearly 4.5 million people are estimated to be afflicted with the disease. By 2040, that number may nearly triple to 15 million people. Cannabis has shown to help Alzheimer’s sufferers by alleviating many symptoms that occur with the disease, including sleep problems, paranoia, anxiety, dysphoria, pain, poor appetite, and weight loss. For the problem of behavioral disturbances, low-dose cannabinoid therapy appears to be effective and well-tolerated. Cannabis treatments may also allow caregivers to care for elderly Alzheimer’s patients at home, avoiding nursing-home placement. Despite encouraging preclinical studies, however, no clinical studies have yet been done that show that cannabinoid treatment can change the unpredictable course of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Ohio and patients that suffer from this diagnosis can come to Summit Releaf for a consultation to obtain their Ohio marijuana card. At Summit Releaf we make it as easy as possible to obtain your Ohio marijuana card, by offering discounts to those members of our community who receive social security or are US veterans that served honorably. The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf provides this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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