Alzheimer has become the sixth leading cause of death in America affecting over 5 million American citizens. To speak the truth, conventional medicine has not done much in treatment of this degenerative disease so far. On the other hand, there’s mounting evidence that Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated using some alternative methods.
According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, “THC [the main active ingredient in marijuana] could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways.”
Research conducted by the University of South Florida and Thomas Jefferson University, examined the “potential therapeutic qualities of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with respect to slowing or halting the hallmark characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease.”
For the purpose of the study, Alzheimer’s research cells (N2a-variant amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) cells) were treated with THC and examined for amyloid-β at the 6, 24, and 48-hour time markers. Amyloid-β is a type of protein linked to Alzheimer’s symptoms. The results showed THC “to be effective at lowering Aβ levels … in a dose-dependent manner.”
The main active ingredient in cannabis, THC, has also proved efficient in lowering other Alzheimer’s key markers. On the plus side, THC gave no side effects and improved the function of the cell’s energy factories — the mitochondria.
According to the study author, Chuanhai Cao, PhD and a neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the USF College of Pharmacy, “THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function.”
“Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future.”
A separate study published in the same journal confirmed that THC in fact improves the body’s natural mechanism for fighting Alzheimer’s — the endocannabinoid system.
Since persistent brain inflammation is regarded as the major reason behind Alzheimer’s disease, the effectiveness of cannabis in relation to this degenerative disease is explained by its natural anti-inflammatory properties. According to some neuroscientists, smoking pot in early adulthood possibly prevents Alzheimer’s onset later in life. In fact, smoking or eating the pot molecules THC and CBD is believed to directly influence nerve cell function, reduces chronic brain inflammation, oxidative stress, and cellular dysfunction. At the same time it stabilizes the body’s internal environment and restores balance or homeostasis and healthy brain cells.
Gary Wenk, Ph.D., Professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at OSU at Ohio State University said “what we found was that not only did the single puff a day reverse the memory impairment but also restarted neurogenesis.”
A 2013 in vivo study on lab mice, concluded that “the present study lends support to the idea that stimulation of CB2 [cannabinoid] receptors ameliorates several altered parameters in Alzheimer’s disease such as impaired memory and learning, neuroinflammation, oxidative stress damage and oxidative stress responses, selected tau kinases, and tau hyperphosphorylation around plaques.”
Unfortunately, cannabis is regarded as a drug highly susceptible to abuse, so the U.S. government is hindering further research into cannabis’ effects on brain disease.