Marijuana Could Fight Alzheimer’s Disease, A New Study Claims

Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease have been linked in a new study, with the popular drug showing that it might be a good weapon in the fight against the deadly disease.

The study was originally published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and the findings “strongly suggest that THC [the main active ingredient in marijuana] could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways.”

Alzheimer’s Disease is an affliction that more than five million people are currently living with, and the number is likely to go higher until an effective cure is discovered.

But as SFGate notes, there is now a promising and (mostly) illegal weapon to rock the disease on its heels.

“Chuanhai Cao and other researchers at the University of South Florida and Thomas Jefferson University wanted to investigate the ‘potential therapeutic qualities of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with respect to slowing or halting the hallmark characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease,” writes David Downs with SFGate.

That led the researchers to treat Alzheimer’s research cells (N2a-variant amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) cells) with THC. They then “examined them for amyloid-β at the 6, 24, and 48-hour time markers. Amyloid-β is a type of protein that is linked to Alzheimer’s symptoms. The researchers found THC ‘to be effective at lowering Aβ levels … in a dose-dependent manner.'”

Cao weighed in in comments to the website.

“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.”

Marijuana use continues to divide much of the country, though acceptance of it is gaining, and its legalization is likely inevitable. Some of the research passed around doesn’t paint the drug in the best light.

Take, for instance, this recent study reported on by the Inquisitr claiming that frequent marijuana users had lower IQs than people who stayed away from the drug altogether.

It has also been blamed for killing motivation and serving as a gateway drug to more serious substance abuse problems. However, in controlled use, it’s also an effective medicine for cancer patients and now, possibly, Alzheimer’s patients. Do you think that marijuana should be legalized completely or just within medical limits?

[Image via ShutterStock]