An incredible new discovery about marijuana could totally revolutionize Alzheimer's treatments.
It’s a big new finding that could be a huge deal for the medical community, which is constantly trying to find better ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study published in the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease claims that a compound present in marijuana triggered the removal of beta-amyloid protein from nerve cells, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement from the Salk Institute.
These beta-amyloid plaques seem to disrupt communication between neurons in the brain, which results in the characteristic symptoms of Alzheimer’s like impaired memory.
But researchers have been unclear what the exact role is of this protein in the disease, making it difficult to attack Alzheimer’s by preventing beta-amyloid accumulation.
Nerve cells in the brain have receptors that can be activated by endocannabinoids, which are lipid molecules produced by nerve cells and can hep nerve cell signaling, studies have shown. Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol, similar to endocannabinoids that actives the same receptors, so scientists wondered if THC could actually prevent nerve cells from dying.
“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” said Salk Professor David Schubert, the senior author of the paper.
“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 nerve cells themselves,” said Antonio Currais, a postdoctoral researcher in Schubert’s laboratory and first author of the paper. “When we were able to identify the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to amyloid beta, it became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying.”