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Cannabis Slowing Alzheimers Disease

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Scientists Discover How Cannabis Slows Alzheimer’s Disease




Clumps of protein known as beta-amyloid plaque are a key trait of Alzheimer’s and contribute to the progression and symptoms of the disease. New evidence points to a unique role of marijuana in removing this plaque from the brain.

TruthOnPot.com – Previous studies suggest a role of cannabis in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and now scientists can explain why.

Researchers at the Roskamp Institute in Florida have shown for the first time how cannabinoids – the active chemicals in marijuana – are able to reduce the build-up of a key indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

For long, scientists have linked the loss of cell and brain tissue in Alzheimer’s to abnormal structures called beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaque. Levels of plaque in a patient’s brain can even predict the severity of symptoms and tissue damage suffered.

Published last week , the new findings reveal how cannabinoids reverse the build-up of plaque in Alzheimer’s by expelling it from the brain.


The team, led by Corbin Bachmeier, Ph.D, explains that Alzheimer’s is not a result of abnormal production of the plaque, but “the result of impaired Aβ clearance from the brain.”

Their results suggest that chemicals in marijuana can aid the plaque in crossing the blood-brain barrier, a process that allows plaque levels to be kept low in healthy people. Previous studies show that this process is blocked in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

While this study was the first to identify this unique function of cannabinoids, it confirms the results of prior research linking the chemicals to a reduction in both plaque levels and Alzheimer’s symptoms.



Dr. Tim Karl, like most neuro-scientists, works mostly with rodent models

What’s more, others suggest cannabinoids have a variety of effects that could be helpful in treating the disorder.


Earlier this year, Tim Karl, Ph.D, a senior investigator at Neuroscience Research Australia who was not involved with the current study, found that mice with Alzheimer’s experienced dramatic improvements in memory after treatment with cannabidiol (CBD).

CBD is one of over 60 cannabinoids found in marijuana and has captured the attention of researchers due to its lack of psychoactive effects.

“It basically brings the performance of the animals back to the level of healthy animals,” Karl told Sydney Morning Herald.

Earlier studies point to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids as useful in Alzheimer’s.

“You could say it cured them, but we will have to go back and look at their brains to be sure.”

Gary Wenk, Ph.D, a professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University, was one of the first scientists to suggest this.

“I’ve been trying to find a drug that will reduce brain inflammation and restore cognitive function in rats for over 25 years; cannabinoids are the first and only class of drugs that have ever been effective,” he told Time Magazine.

He believes that stigma still hinders marijuana-based medicine from being widely accepted, but is hopeful that things will change.

Alzheimer’s disease continues to be a leading cause of disability among the growing population of seniors. Without a breakthrough in treatment, the number of Alzheimer’s cases are expected to triple over the next 50 years.

“I think that the perception about this drug is changing and in the future people will be less fearful.”




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Statistics indicate that Alzheimer’s is one of the top ten leading causes of death among the elderly in the United States. The characteristic signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, a neural degenerative disease are diminishing intellectual facility and a continuous decline in memory. The underlying cause of this degenerative condition that triggers is the formation of sticky amyloid plaques or protein deposits that lead to speech problems, spatial disorientation, severe loss of memory, mood swings, irritability, and severe neuronal damage. During advanced stages of the disease, people also experience a loss of cognition and memory inhibition.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive and incurable condition that systematically destroys brain cells in people above the age of 65, but cases of Alzheimer’s have been reported in people even in their mid 20s and 30s. However, these cases seem to be genetic in nature when compared with the protein based degeneration seen in older people. There are certain substances such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and nicotine that inhibit and suppress the growth of new brain cells, which worsens the condition.

However, research conducted at Scripps Research in San Diego demonstrates that marijuana is a neuronal growth promoter and is a better bet when compared with a number of prescription drugs that are currently administered by medical practitioners and doctors that stifle the growth of these nerve cells.

The Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC component of medical marijuana or MMJ or medical cannabis significant reduces the progression of this dreaded and highly feared disease. Per clinical trials, MMJ is also known to reduce inflammation and tumor growth in as much as 50% of patients who were afflicted with lung cancer. The controlled and vigilant use of medical marijuana holds a lot of promise to help people cope with their symptoms. Currently, a number of cities in the United States are monitoring and controlling the distribution of medical cannabis through various medical marijuana dispensaries.

Patients have reported that they felt immensely relieved when they were given optimal doses of Medical Marijuana. It proved to be helpful in dealing with a number of troublesome signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as disturbed motor skills, loss of memory, diminished intellect and social skills, and dementia. Scientists believe that medical marijuana based drug treatment is a lot more effective when compared with the current treatment systems in place and while more research is required in this area, it is definitely one of the first drug that might have what it takes to fight this incurable and debilitating disease.

The THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol active ingredient in marijuana works by decreasing the production of acetylcholinesterase, a neural enzyme that is known to trigger the formation of these harmful protein deposits in the brain. The enzyme also reduces the levels of acetylcholine, an important and essential neurotransmitter. It is estimated that more than 4.5 million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s and there are only a few FDA-approved pharmaceuticals that help people deal with the symptoms of the disease, but there are none available to block the progression of Alzheimer’s.

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