Alternative Medicine for Alzheimer’s Disease
Amongst the elderly, the leading cause for dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. With more elderly individuals entering the population every year, the number of cases for Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple within the next five decades.
Research has been slow in terms of developing treatments to either slow the progression of the disease or improve the quality of life for patients. It is not known how people get Alzheimer’s disease, though it is believed to be hereditary.
A number of alternative medicines have been used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and have been effective. Marijuana has been helpful with improving the quality of life for patients because of the active component THC that also seems to affect certain areas of the brain to prevent memory loss. There are also cannabinoid molecules that directly impact how the ability to disease progresses.
A variety of other herbal medicines have been used to treat Alzheimer’s disease as well. Amongst these are ginkgo biloba, omega-3 fatty acids, coconut oil, and coral calcium. While each of these has had positive effects, there are also concerns about this alternative medicine.
The effectiveness and safety of certain alternative therapies are unknown because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approves prescription drugs and not dietary supplements. The makers of dietary supplements are not required to provide any kind of evidence to support its claims. There have been studies to show how some of these herbs have been effective, but not all of them have substantial studies conducted about them.
Additionally, the purity of the herbal medicine is not known. Manufacturers are responsible for developing and enforcing their own guidelines because the FDA has no authority over them. Thus, when a person purchases alternative medicine, they need to know whether the product is safe and if the ingredients on the label are in the correct amounts. Further, doctors who are prescribing alternative medicine need to monitor the bad reactions to ensure patients are using them properly.
For more information about research on the effects of the use of cannabis in treatment of Alzheimer's disease take a look here and here.