Study shows marijuana may have potential to cure Alzheimer’s disease
An active compound in marijuana can contribute to the removal of toxic proteins in the brain, which are thought to kick-start the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has found.
The study, which was published in the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease on Friday, said that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in pot could help to remove toxic clumps of amyloid beta from nerve cells.
The finding however supported the results of previous studies that cannabinoids have protective effects on patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
The leading researcher, Prof. David Schubert said that the study carried was out by the California-based Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
“It is likely to be the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells.
“Amyloid beta is considered a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease,’’ Schubert said.
“The toxic protein accumulates in people’s brain, forming plaques and disrupting the communication between nerve cells,’’ Schubert said.
The scientists modified nerve cells to produce high level of the protein to find out more about the role of amyloid beta in the disease.
They found that increased amyloid beta production led to increased expression of pro-inflammatory proteins in nerve cells causing inflammation and inducing deaths of neurons.
The team applied THC to nerve cells with high amyloid beta production, finding that the marijuana compound reduce the protein level and eradicate the inflammatory response to the protein, which ensure nerve cell survival.
Researcher Antonio Currais said that inflammation within the brain was a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s.
Currais added that it became clear that THC-like compounds could be involved in protecting the cells from dying.
Alzheimer’s disease, a common cause of dementia, is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.
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