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Cannabis Research: Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimers disease is a physical disease of the brain and is one of the leading causes of dementia. It causes protein “plaques” and “tangles” that develop within the brain, causing the death of its cells. This progressive disease slowly causes more and more brain damage, deteriorating the mental condition of the patient. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are:

Loss of memory – Easily becomes confused and struggles to remember names, places, people and recent events.

Mood swings – Can easily become angry, scared or frustrated as a result of the increasing memory loss.

Withdrawal – Becomes much more emotional withdrawn as communication becomes progressively harder.

Cannabis & Alzheimer’s Disease studies:

1) Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease Pathology by Cannabinoids: Neuroprotection Mediated by Blockade of Microglial Activation (2005)

Cannabinoids are known to act as neuroprotective agents within the brain. This prompted researchers to assess the function of cannabinoid receptors in Alzheimer’s disease patients, and the potential protective qualities the cannabinoids within marijuana could offer. They found that cannabinoid receptors did play a role in the disease, and that cannabinoids helped prevent the neurodegenerative process from taking place. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

2) Marijuana Slows Alzheimer’s Decline (2005)

Work by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem set out to find whether the non-psychoactive cannabinoids of cannabis could help with the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. They found positive results within mice that suggested the use of cannabis could slow the degeneration of memory. Sourced from the Israel National News.

3) A Molecular Link between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology (2006)

This research aimed to find the role THC could play in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, as opposed to the role of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids. They found that THC effectively inhibits AB aggregation, the main pathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. They summarised that the effect THC had was currently superior to those of prescription based medication available at the time. Published in Molecular Pharmaceuticals.



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