?Cannabis causes brain damage?
When he reigned, President Ronald Reagan declared that “the most reliable scientific sources” held that “permanent brain damage” was the “inevitable” result of marijuana usage. “The most reliable scientific sources” was a single study where pot smoke was supplied through masks to monkeys, tantamount to 30 Js a day for 90 days, and the monkeys died showing brain damage. Critics countered that this was the product of oxygen deprivation rather than THC. The study has never been replicated, despite numerous attempts.
No, it doesn’t
Another study at the University of Virginia Medical College in 1974 found that cancerous brain cells became healthy in mice fed THC. The US government’s reaction to this discovery was to shut the study down and confiscate all papers.
A study in Spain in 2013 using mice genetically pre-disposed to the brain plaque accumulation associated with Alzheimer’s found that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors improves impaired memory, neuroinflammation, oxidative stress damage and oxidative stress responses: cannabis reverses Alzheimer’s.
Another study conducted by scientists at the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Florida, that was published in the June 25 2013 edition of the journal, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, explained that it was the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque which blocked communication between brain cells, causing Alzheimer’s. Cannabinoids such as that funky tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) enabled the plaque to be expelled through the blood-brain barrier, which occurs normally in people not afflicted by the disease. Cannabis reverses Alzheimer’s.
In 2013 at Neuroscience Research Australia, Tim Karl PhD led a team which observed that cannabis reverses Alzheimer’s: mice with the condition experienced radical improvements in memory after exposure to cannabidiol (CBD), another cannabinoid, although sadly not one that makes you stoned. Karl told the Sydney Morning Herald, “It basically brings the performance of the animals back to the level of healthy animals.”
A study that was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016 was one of the first to observe the effects of cannabis upon Alzheimer’s in humans. It was undertaken by Abarbanel Mental Health Center and the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University and the Department of Psychology of Bar-Ilan University. Marijuana was given to 11 people, of whom one dropped out. This sample was too small for comfort, but the researchers concluded that cannabis was “a safe and promising treatment option.”
Dr. David Casarett, chief of palliative care services at Duke University and author of Stoned, has spoken to many family members of people afflicted with mild or moderate dementia who believed cannabis to be “effective in alleviating the confusion and agitation that sometimes occurs.”