Cannabinoids in late-onset Alzheimer's disease

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Jun;97(6):597-606. doi: 10.1002/cpt.117. Epub 2015 Apr 17.


Given the lack of effective treatments for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) and the substantial burden on patients, families, health care systems, and economies, finding an effective therapy is one of the highest medical priorities. The past few years have seen a growing interest in the medicinal uses of cannabinoids, the bioactive components of the cannabis plant, including the treatment of LOAD and other physical conditions that are common in older people. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids can reduce oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, the key hallmarks of LOAD. In addition, in population-based studies, cannabinoids reduced dementia-related symptoms (e.g., behavioral disturbances). The current article provides an overview of the potential of cannabinoids in the treatment of LOAD and related neuropsychiatric symptoms in older people. We also discuss the efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of cannabinoid-based drugs in older people with dementia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacokinetics
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Endocannabinoids / physiology
  • Humans


  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids