Adding to the list of numerous diseases that medical marijuana has already helped to heal – cancer, rare muscular diseases, arthritis, seizures, and more – compounds in the plant have also been shown to positively impact Alzheimer’s disease. This is important because the degenerative disease affects more than 5 million Americans.
One study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology in 2006, hits home for me personally because I lost my own mother to Alzheimer’s disease. All while there are millions of people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neurological diseases every year throughout the world, and the number is expected to rise. It’s all so unnecessary.
The study found that a compound within cannabis harnesses two therapeutic properties ideal for addressing both the surface symptom (memory problems) and root cause (brain plaque) of Alzheimer’s disease.
It states very clearly that marijuana compounds which normally account for a ‘high,’ Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. (Charts and graphs here.)
The study abstract states:
“Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Abeta aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.“
Numerous experimental drugs have been introduced which have failed miserably for treating Alzheimer’s disease. For example, one created by Lilly was a phenomenal disappointment, and cost millions of dollars to develop. When my mother was in hospice, she wore a patch that was supposed to help with her symptoms, which cost over $600 a month.
These drugs are not only an insult to the patients and families who have to pay for them, hoping they will work, but a burden to the medical system. It is possible that the drug my mother took also caused her to have seizures. I wont’ list it here, but multiple Alzheimer’s drugs have been accused of the same.
Conversely, marijuana compounds showed an ability to inhibit the AChE enzyme, not unlike the mechanism of action behind most Alzheimer’s drugs on the market today – and the marijuana compounds cost considerably less – without harming the patient.
The compound THC also showed an ability to prevent the acetylcholinesterase-associated amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation, i.e. brain plaque, as the researchers of the study note, “directly impacts Alzheimer’s disease pathology.”
Now I ask you – where is the real medicine? And why is marijuana still listed by the Feds as a Schedule I drug? It is time for re-classification. Not only is it improperly labeled; it could save lives.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.