Could The Cannabis Compound “THC” Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 07/15/2016 in Medical Marijuana Conditions
Findings of a recent study helping to shed light on “how” cannabis may help the debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer’s, has many questioning if the cannabis compound THC, could in fact, potentially be the cure to Alzheimer’s disease. The medical marijuana community has known for sometime, that the medical use of marijuana helps to alternatively treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, however, until recently there was little in the way of understanding, exactly “how”, it was it was capable of doing so.
While some in the medical community thought that the effects were as a result of the compounds that promote neurogenesis of the brain, however, recent evidence reveals that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the compound that could end up playing a key role in the treatment, and possible cure, of Alzheimers.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurologic disease of the brain, that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and leads to the irreversible loss of neurons and dementia.
When it comes to medical marijuana, a large majority of the community seem intent on demonizing THC for its head-high effects, while glorifying the medicative prospects contained in the cannabidiol (CBD) compound, however, to discount the THC compound, and its medicative potential, would be as short-sighted as the original context for prohibition.
And, while the push largely comes from special interest groups that have financial incentives to see the “non-psychoactive” CBD compound flourish, so that they can opportunistically take full advantage of it, by mass-producing prescription medications, it is extremely important for medical cannabis community at large, to begin to scientifically understand the medical potential of each cannabinoid compound, in the cannabis plant, including THC.
Additionally, THC also plays a pivotal role in the “entourage/nett effect” — the effect of all cannabinoids being consumed together — and promotes a far superior health, than compared to when cannabinoids are consumed singularly.
The Effects of THC on Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, recently discovered that tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, may in fact, reduce the accumulation of plaque forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells. Additionally, amyloid beta accumulates in the nerve cells in the brain, before the disease is often diagnosed — were the medical community capable of early-detection, they would be able to eliminate the plaque deposits, and may potentially help to prevent, or even possibly cure, those with the disease.
According to the U.S. Institute of Health, Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of the death among seniors, with approximately five million American’s afflicted, by the debilitating disease — giving the medical community a very real and urgent incentive, to find a solution to the problem, fast..
The study altered lab-grown nerve cells, to produce high amounts of amyloid beta, to mimic the effects of Alzheimer’s. The study found that the presence of elevated levels of the protein, induced neuron death and cellular inflammation.
“Although other studies have offered evidence than cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate than cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” said David Schubert, lead author of the study, and professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
“Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the newer cells themselves,” said Antonio Curries, a member of the research team.
However, when the afflicted cells were exposed to THC, researchers found that the amyloid beta levels declined, while simultaneously reducing the overall inflammation, as well. Essentially, the THC was responsible for preventing the death of the neurons.
The Future of Alzheimer’s Disease
This is a significant stride for the Alzheimer’s medical community, and for the medical cannabis community, as each of these studies helps to shed more light on the true curative powers, of cannabis.
Clinical trials are expected to follow soon, which will help to further investigate the potential for THC to treat, and even possible cure, a disease that has devastated more than five million families, in the U.S. alone.