Alzheimer’s disease has become a growing socio-economical concern in developing countries where increased life expectancy is leading to large aged populations. While curing Alzheimer’s disease or stopping its progression does not appear within reach in a foreseeable future, new therapies capable of delaying the pathogenesis would represent major breakthroughs.
Presentation of the hypothesis
The growing number of medical benefits of cannabinoids, such as their ability to regulate age-related processes like neuroinflammation, neurogenesis and memory, raise the question of their potential role as a preventive treatment of AD.
Testing the hypothesis
To test this hypothesis, epidemiological studies on long term, chronic cannabinoid users could enlighten us on the potential benefits of these compounds in normal and pathological ageing processes. Systematic pharmacological (and thus more mechanistic) investigations using animal models of Alzheimer’s disease that have been developed would also allow a thorough investigation of the benefits of cannabinoid pharmacotherapy in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Implications of the hypothesis
The chronic administration of non-selective cannabinoids may delay the onset of cognitive deficits in AD patients; this will dramatically reduce the socio-economic burden of AD and improve the quality of life of the patients and their families.”