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Marijuana and Alzheimer’s – How Marijuana Outperforms Drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease

Lisa Garber
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September 18th, 2012
Updated 11/01/2012 at 10:13 pm
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marijuanaplants 235x147 Marijuana and Alzheimers How Marijuana Outperforms Drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease

The war on drugs has most people believing there is no legitimate argument for marijuana, causing it to be highly looked down upon and illegal under federal law throughout the United States. But there is an exceptionally large body of research pointing to the positive impact marijuana can have on various health ailments, with recent research revealing a link between marijuana and Alzheimer’s – showing that THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients.

As published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology, a Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology study shows that Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) both “competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation.” In other words, cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis could halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Marijuana and Alzheimer’s – Alzheimer’s Help without Nasty Drug-Induced Side Effects

Many drugs on the market today address symptoms of Alzheimer’s by targeting and inhibiting the AChE enzyme, a neurotransmitter. This leads to decreased levels of AChE, thereby resulting in reduced symptoms.

The problem with many Alzheimer’s drugs like donepezil (known as Aricept), however, is that they are associated with seizures, among other nasty side-effects. But it isn’t too surprising—donepezil is in the same class of chemicals as many insecticides and agents of chemical warfare like nerve gas.

THC inhibits AChE on par with Aricept, and it even prevents brain plaque buildup—AchE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation for the scientifically well-versed. The researchers studied the reduction of Aβ aggregation after administration of donepezil and tacrine, which resulted in 22 percent and 7 percent reductions, respectively. “Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” says study author Lisa M. Eubanks, “THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.”

Marijuana Misconceptions

This is hardly the first time research has shown that marijuana fights the very disease it’s been accused of causing.  Dr. Sean McAllister’s research at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco answers the age-old question: Does marijuana cause cancer? He shows that cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy. Let’s not also forget about Mike Hyde, the father who helped his 3-year-old son beat brain cancer with oil from marijuana.

Alzheimer’s on the Rise

While the link between marijuana and Alzheimer’s may be exciting, not everyone has access to such a controversial treatment. And the escalation of the disease rates is not slowing – Alzheimer’s incidence is projected to triple over the coming 50 years. While we know that Alzheimer’s is primarily caused by an overall unhealthy lifestyle made up of a poor diet and lack of exercise, researchers are looking to see if stress is one of the factors that affect one’s risk of Alzheimer’s. Seeing as stress wreaks havoc on the immune system, there is no doubt that it also helps to breed Alzheimer’s.

So what else can you do to prevent the health condition? Shifting to an overall healthy lifestyle is the best option, but there are specific measures to take as well. Consuming foods rich in vitamin E can help prevent the health issue, while a direct relationship has been made between coconut oil and Alzheimer’s as well – a relationship that should not be overlooked.

Additional Sources:

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From around the web:

  • ladychurchillusa

    Since marijuana causes loss of memory function attaching itself to memory receptors in the brain these studies that show it helps with altzheimers are highly suspicious to say the least. Even celebrities like Brad Pitt are finally recognizing the damaging long term effects of sustained usage of this so called non toxic drug. You have been sold a bill of goods by the make mary jane legal crowd. The recent studies which have been done now that scientists can actually look at the brain and its reactions to the drug are far from labeling it benign they label it a terrorist drug that basically takes over your brain. Ask anyone who has been a long term user how easy it is to stop using and ask about the long term effects on their memories.

  • Marshal Legazpi

    This is also dependent on the strain of cannabis used. Some are more wakeful and stimulating, others are calming and relaxing.

    Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/marijuana-and-alzheimer
    Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

  • Manuel

    Cannabis (mariuhana it's a racist word made up to associate the use of cannabis with the mexican emigrants in the beginning of the 20th century) was, it is and it will always be a medicine. The largest used by most doctors until 1937, when asshole Anslinger turned out on cannabis because alcohol was legal back again, and he would've been laid off of work, because his services weren't needed any longer, so he had to make this move to protect his income flow and the economical interests of his family in law.

    Google "WHAT IF CANNABIS CURED CANCER" and you will understand the real story behind cannabis prohibition.

    CANNABIS IS ILLEGAL BECAUSE IT´S A NON PATENTABLE MEDICINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Danielle Poirier

    In reply to Eliot W. Collins,
    You are not supposed to smoke it , ingest it as a food through the mouth.

  • Colorado Kathy

    When my mother was at the end stages of life with Alzheimers, hospice put her on morphine and Ativan for the pain and panic attacks she was having. She was on these drugs for two weeks and fighting them the whole time. In desperation I tried some MMJ tincture under her tongue one morning. Within minutes it was evident she relaxed. The second day I gave her another dropperful under her tongue. She sat up in bed, something she had not been able to do for quite some time, and told me "You signed me up too early!", meaning for hospice. She never had any of the morphine or Ativan again after that. In fact she never again took any other meds at all except her levothyroxine. She lived another eight months, very comfortable with no pain and no more panic attacks, and remarkably lucid for an Alzheimer's patient. I will always wonder what effect the MMJ would have had on the Alzheimer's had I started using it sooner in the disease. This is real medicine folks!

  • Leslie

    I've been using medical Marijauna for more than a month now for fibromyalgia and mostly for depression. My depression is gone and only use is once a day for the depression sometimes I have to use it more for the physical pain but it really takes the edge off. I am happy most of the time now and I am not getting high with the amount I am doing and my memory is improving since I have gotten off the pharmaceutical pain meds

    • Bruce

      Two years ago i tryed something a person told me about.I mixed a cannabis tea with hemp oil.I took a tablespoon in the morning and the same in the evening for five days.I was diagnosed with arthritis in my knees and fibromyalgia.The third day of the regimn i was doing my arthritis and fibromyalgia went away.I took a chance and a miracle took place.I haven't done another treatment since the one i did two years ago.There are numourous ways to use this marijuana as a cure or a treatment.The way i used this stuff did not make me high in the least.Every year i get a blood test and the doctor hasn't even asked how the fibromyalgia or the arthritis is doing.This goes to show you how little doctors care about their patients.

  • Eliot W. Collins

    When I smoked marijuana as a youth, it made my memory worse and it prevented me from doing my best; so I stopped. Unless one is in great pain, I recommend that no one start using it.

    • John Baker

      This is a very ignorant thing to say. One may abuse anything including, food, sex, sleep, and exercise. I’ve used cannabis off and on for 20 years and like anything, it must be used sensibly even though it is not physically dangerous. Staying “baked” all day long will surely affect how you understand time and also what info is recorded and how it’s recalled. This is also dependent on the strain of cannabis used. Some are more wakeful and stimulating, others are calming and relaxing. Cannabis is one of the most amazing medicinal plants on the planet! Until we stop this ignorant view and the unrealistic stereotype of all users being burned out stoners, we will never see the full potential of this gift. Is everyone who drinks an alcoholic? Not everyone who uses cannabis is a “pot head”.

  • Naturopath Pierce

    The benefits of cannabis are incredible. There are definite reasons that it is outlawed. Not good reasons but reasons none-the-less. If it were legalized, responsibly studied, and applied, health care would drastically change for the better. Yet, this simple plant terrifies the pharmaceutical and medical community. A few days ago i saw an article on a medical website about the "horrors" of marijuana. The article didn't have any credible source.