Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to affect over 5 million people in the U.S. The progressive disease destroys memory and other important mental functions.

A company in Colorado is hoping to become the state’s very first to study the effects of marijuana on the disease.

MedPharm Holdings plans to apply for a Denver marijuana R&D license to test delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids’ effects on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

According to Albert Gutierrez, CEO of MedPharm, Alzheimer’s is “one of the biggest things that’s plaguing our country now and in the future.”

“We haven’t yet tapped into what this plant can really do to help alleviate the symptoms,” Gutierrez said. “We hear a lot of anecdotal evidence as far as helping with epilepsy or helping with arthritic pain… now it’s time to put the cannabinoids to the test and really understand what cannabinoids and what doses and what delivery methods really help deliver that relief.”

According to a Denver Post report, during trials, MedPharm scientists plan to track how cannabinoids interact with neurological receptors through brain mapping and measuring cognitive abilities and patterns in patient demeanor. They will study how THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are absorbed and metabolized in the body.

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