Updated: Apr 30
Brought to you by the new Higher Learning LV Cannabis for Pain seminar.
A September 2022 peer-reviewed research study conducted in Israel entitled "Effects of Rich Cannabidiol Oil on Behavioral Disturbances in Patients with Dementia: A Placebo Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial" that was published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine explored the potential benefits of treating common diseases of dementia such as Alzheimer's with cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
The stated goal of the scientific investigation was to "evaluate the safety and efficacy of the medical cannabis oil 'Avidekel' for the reduction of behavioral disturbances among patients with dementia." The study's authors noted that "90 percent of patients with dementia suffer from some type of neurobehavioral symptom," but that there are no "approved medications to address these symptoms."
The study's authors described dementia as "a progressive decline in cognitive and functional abilities and challenging behavioral symptoms" that is a major cause of disability and dependency in seniors.
The scientists described dementia as "a progressive decline in cognitive and functional abilities and challenging behavioral symptoms" that is a major cause of disability and dependency in seniors.
They explained that symptoms of dementia include "agitation, mood disorders, hallucinations and delusions (psychosis), and sleep disorders." The scientists noted that, while dementia-related agitation "involves psychological and social components," it is also "often...characterized by anatomical and neurochemical changes in the brain."
Dementia is a Group of Symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, "dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with one's daily life." The famous clinic noted that dementia "isn't a specific disease, but several diseases."
Image courtesy Leafwize Naturals
It reported that, although dementia almost always involves memory loss, "memory loss has [multiple] causes" and that seniors with memory loss are not necessarily suffering from dementia. That said, memory loss is one of the earliest signs of the onset of dementia.
The Clinic noted that Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of "a progressive dementia in older adults, but there are a number of other causes of dementia." It explained that, depending on the cause of the dementia, "some symptoms might be reversible."
According to Alzheimer's Disease International, an organization based in London, more than 55 million people suffered with dementia, globally, in 2020. The group estimates that this number will double to more than 100 million in the next 20 years and states on its website that "someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds."
The study included 52 subjects who featured a diagnosis of "major neurocognitive disorder and associated behavioral disturbances."
The organization estimates that 60 percent of those with dementia "live in low and middle income countries," a figure that is predicted to rise to 71 percent by 2050. It noted that more than 10 million new cases of dementia are diagnosed each year throughout the world.
CBD Oil for Dementia Study
The design of the research was that of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial involving 52 subjects (a 60/40 split of females to males), all of whom were a minimum of 60 years old (the cohort overall had a mean age of 79) and featured a diagnosis of "major neurocognitive disorder and associated behavioral disturbances."
The main hypothesis of the scientific research project was that the "consumption of the [CBD oil] will reduce behavioral disturbances and restlessness in older patients with dementia." Study participants were given the CBD oil over a 16-week period at "a tertiary hospital in Israel from December 2017 to September 2019," noted the researchers.
The hypothesis of the research was that the "consumption of the [CBD oil] will reduce behavioral disturbances and restlessness in patients with dementia."
Exclusion criteria (reasons that candidates were not accepted to participate in the study) included "severe heart disease, epilepsy, anxiety disorder, psychotic conditions (in the present or in the past and not related to dementia), family history of schizophrenia, current substance use disorder, recent cannabis experience, or scheduled surgery during the trial."
Broad-spectrum CBD Oil
The group receiving CBD was given a broad-spectrum cannabis oil that featured 30 percent CBD and only one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that was based on a chemovar (strain) of cannabis called "Avidekel." This chemovar had been employed in previous clinical trials involving participants with both autism and dementia and was chosen based on a positive safety profile intended "to minimize side effects."
Per-session dosing for CBD and THC "was 175.8 mg and 7.4 mg, respectively (527.5 mg and 22.3 mg per day, respectively)."
CBD Oil for Dementia Study Results
The scientists noted that the group receiving the broad-spectrum CBD oil and not a placebo demonstrated "a significantly greater reduction [in agitation and negative dementia symptoms] compared to the control group." They observed that the "aggressive behavior" subscores of the participants "showed significantly greater improvement in the investigational group [those receiving CBD oil] compared to the control group."
The scientists noted that the group receiving the broad-spectrum CBD oil and not a placebo demonstrated "a significantly greater reduction [in agitation and negative dementia symptoms]."
Greater Improvement with CBD
The study reported that its detailed analysis of the data it collected from the study cohort (group) "demonstrated a significantly greater improvement in the investigational group compared to the control group for tests of week 14 and week 16 compared to baseline." The study's authors also declared a "wide confidence interval" with their results and analysis.
Some of the investigative group receiving the CBD oil displayed "adverse events" that included sleepiness, confusion, and memory disturbances. "Sleepiness (49 percent of participants in the investigational group), confusion and disorientation (46 percent), and decreased memory (32 percent) were the most frequent complaints."
CBD Oil for Dementia Study Conclusions
The study concluded that the data it collected from the participant cohort and its detailed analysis of this information "suggest that CBD-rich cannabis oil may alleviate agitation in older patients with dementia."
"CBD-rich cannabis oil may alleviate agitation in older patients with dementia."
However, the researchers stressed that "one trial is not enough to make conclusions on the safety and efficacy of broad-spectrum CBD" and recommended further "large scale randomized controlled trials on behavioral disturbances related to dementia."
🎧 Like what you just read? Listen and learn with our highly educational weekly Cannabis Commerce + Chemistry Podcast. At under 30 minutes per episode, it helps industry professionals stay current on trending topics.