A study has found that marijuana compounds may be helpful for treating Alzheimer’s disease, adding to the long list of things marijuana may be useful for in the medical field.
Researchers have found that THC could promote the removal of the plaque found on the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers. They have also found that other compounds found in marijuana may also help aid the process.
“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” says Salk Professor David Schubert, the senior author of the paper.
One of the primary goals in the Alzheimer’s research community is to find a way to promote the removal of the plaque found on the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. It seems plaque builds up because of beta-amyloid proteins in human neurons, and it appears THC helps remove these proteins. By removing some of the beta-amyloud proteins, THC also helps the brain become less inflamed.
“Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the nerve cells themselves,” Antonio Currais, a postdoctoral researcher in Schubert’s laboratory and first author of the paper, said in a statement. “When we were able to identify the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to amyloid beta, it became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying.”
Marijuana compounds have been shown to be helpful for treating Alzheimer’s-related issues in the past. A study released at the beginning of this year found symptoms related to Alzheimer’s like aggression and delusions may be reduced by giving a patient a liquid marijuana extract containing THC. The study found the treatment is safe and significantly helps patients.
Alzheimer’s disease affects over five million Americans, and it causes people to lose their memories and lose their ability to think clearly. Alzheimer’s patients often become confused and frustrated after being diagnosed with the disease. It is estimated Alzheimer’s will cost the United States over $236 billion in 2016 alone. It is one of the most deadly diseases known to man, and people who have relatives who’ve been diagnosed with it are much more likely to get it themselves.
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