The therapeutic potential of the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s disease – a preclinical perspective.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is neurodegenerative cognitive disorder with an inflammatory component. More classically, AD is described by extracellular amyloid deposition (building senile plaques) and tau hyper-phosphorylation (forming intracellular neurofibrillary tangles). These processes also impact on a variety of neurotransmitter systems and increased oxidative stress and neuroinflammation is found in brains of AD patients. Interestingly, the endocannabinoid system (eCB) plays a role in immunity, neuroprotection (i.e. anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects) and can affect cognitive domains. Our recent animal research suggests that the non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has beneficial effects on the pathophysiology of AD and disease-relevant cognitive impairments. I will present data on the effects of CBD in established transgenic mouse models for AD.

Tim Karl graduated from the Leipniz University of Hanover (Germany) in 2003 with a PhD in Zoology (Behavioural Neuroscience). Until 2008, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Garvan Institute working on rodent models for anxiety and schizophrenia. In 2008, Tim established his own research team at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) before taking on an academic position at Western Sydney University in February 2016. His research focused on the neuro-behavioural consequences of gene-environment interactions in animal models for schizophrenia and the discovery of new therapeutic targets for dementia. Tim’s team also investigates the detrimental and potentially beneficial properties of cannabis constituents for brain disorders. As all of his group’s research is based on mouse model systems, Tim’s research also aims to enhance the validity of rodent models and the well-being of test animals in medical research by providing more stimulating housing conditions and utilising more natural test system models. Prof Karl has published over 90 research articles, reviews and book chapters and is currently funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC Project Grants and Dementia Research Team Initiative), the ARC, and the Ainsworth Medical Research Innovation Fund.