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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is becoming more prevalent as the population ages. Dementia is the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom. It caused 72,375 people (15.37 percent of the total) to expire in 2016, per the World Health Organisation. Alzheimer’s sufferers often require care for many years as their memories and ability to care for themselves fade away. Various experimental treatments have failed, making Alzheimer’s one of the most challenging diseases around.

He might be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease if he smokes joints. Photo: Marg

He might be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease if he smokes joints. Photo: Marg

 

Here’s a study

A study was recently revealed at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the main ingredient of cannabis, and is psychoactive. The study found that THC possibly benefitted the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. OK, so it used mice, but it’s a start.

THC means fewer brain cells are lost

Mice altered genetically to develop Alzheimer’s-like symptoms received a synthetic variant of THC for a month-and-a-half. The mice that received a placebo were unable to recall where the shallow area in a body of water was. The mice that got the THC lost fewer brain cells. Their brains also had 20 percent less of the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. The plaque comprises proteins that include beta amyloid. One of the researchers, Yvonne Bouter of Germany’s University Medical Center Göttingen, commented, “Cannabis could be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ooh! Another study!

The Salk Institute recently conducted another study. It was the first to examine the effect of THC on the build-up of plaque in the brain in humans. Researchers took human neurons grown in a lab and changed them to be more prone to plaque build-up. The neurons then received exposure to THC. THC led to not only a breakdown of the plaque build-up but a reduction of cell inflammation. Inflammation is undesirable since it makes it more difficult for neurons to communicate with each other correctly.

THC means there’s less protein build-up and inflammation!

Researchers believe that THC lessened protein build-up and inflammation by affecting the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. Scientists already knew that exercise activates these receptors. Hence, physical activity can impede the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s those endocannabinoid receptors, it is

Professor David Schubert led the study. He decided to investigate the link between THC and Alzheimer’s plaque as a result of an earlier study. This tested a new drug. The discovery was made that the endocannabinoid receptors were involved in the removal of protein build-up and inflammation.

Notable figure calls cannabis “legitimate avenue of research”, by Jiminy, yes

As ever, there’s a requirement for further study before you get Granddad to have a joint. This would include human clinical trials. Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the US Alzheimer’s Association, called marijuana a “legitimate avenue of research.” The association funded some of the Salk Institute’s earlier research.

Mebbe Granddad should smoke joints. Just saying.

Dr David Casarett wrote the book Stoned and is chief of palliative care services at Duke University. He remarked that he had spoken to many family members of people suffering from mild or moderate dementia who believed cannabis reduced the confusion and agitation that can result.

We have lotsa studies around here

A review of research into cannabis by was undertaken by Dutch scientists in 2014. This found two studies that showed THC was useful in treating dementia. In 2016, there was also a very small study, covering only 11 people. This found THC to decrease the Alzheimer’s symptoms of apathy, aggression, agitation, delusion, irritability and sleep problems.

It is at least possible that cannabis might prevent Alzheimer’s disease

It’s possible that cannabis could prevent or even cure Alzheimer’s disease. No other therapies exist.

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