A Breakthrough in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s?

Scientists continue to search for the benefits of marijuana to treat diseases.

So far, limited research has been positive for diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s.

Now, we might add Alzheimer’s to the list…

A recent study suggests compounds found in marijuana seem effective when used to treat the plaques that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings come from the scientists at the Salk Institute, and published in the most recent issue of the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease. Researchers found that molecules produced by the marijuana plant could help remove a toxic protein called amyloid beta plaque from the brain.

Amyloid beta plaques are known to build up in many Alzheimer’s patient’s brains. Build up can prevent neurons from communicating with each other. It also causes inflammation.

The build-up of plaque is usually slow and steady. Some researchers now believe that people who display obvious symptoms of Alzheimer’s in their 70s and 80s may have plaques forming when they are in their 40s.

To find out how cannabinoids (molecules derived from marijuana) can affect the plaques, researchers grew human brain neurons in a lab and subjected them to conditions that produced the amyloid plaques. Resulting inflammation from the plaques caused cell death.

But when the cells were exposed to THC (Or tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the components found in marijuana) and other marijuana compounds, inflammation was decreased — and cells survived.

Researchers discovered the effect of THC as part of their development of an Alzheimer’s drug called, J147. That drug also appears to decrease inflammation in neurons and removes plaques.

J147 has also been shown to slow down aspects of aging in lab mice.

But there are still a lot of unknowns and confusing contradictions when it comes to Alzheimer’s…

For example, some people who do not show any symptoms of the disease have high amounts of the plaque in their brains at death.

But until more research is done, you may not need to ingest marijuana molecules to get the positive effects of cannabinoids…

Humans naturally make fatty molecules called endocannabinoids that can activate receptors on brain neurons.

Exercise increases natural levels of endocannabinoids in the brain, and previous research has shown that exercise may slow the effects of Alzheimer’s.

So get out there and move. Your brain will thank you for it.

To your health and wealth,

Stephen L. Petranek
for The Daily Reckoning

 

The Daily Reckoning