September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day, so it is only fitting that the case for why cannabis might hold the key to treating Alzheimer’s disease is layed out. But first, here are some basics. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that disrupts important mental processes such as memory, cognitive ability, forming logical connections and behavior. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease with symptoms that usually begin with forgetfulness and disorientation and progress in severity over time. Alzheimer’s patients may lose the ability to carry out daily tasks and often require constant supervision as not to endanger themselves and others.
THC removes plaque buildup in the brain
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.5 million Americans are currently living with the disease, 5.3 million of which are over the age of 65.
Though there is no clinically accepted cure for Alzheimer’s, preliminary evidence suggests that THC and other compounds extracted from cannabis encourage the removal of amyloid beta, a plaque protein discovered Alzheimer’s patients’ cranial neurons.
Toxic plaque buildup and subsequent nerve cell death cause inflammation, which medical experts point to as being the main contributors to dementia. Researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies were among the first to discover that THC removes this plaque buildup and tackles inflammation and concluded in 2016,
Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that there is a therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of AD (Alzheimer’s Disease).
Current prescriptions can’t get it done in time
Dr. David Schubert, senior scientist on the above study at Salk Institute is looking to cannabis as a preventative measure, rather than a reactive one. He believes that current prescriptions on the market that slow the progression of the disease are only effective for a short period of time simply because they are too little too late.
They are trying to use antibodies to get rid of plaque that is outside the cell, but that is too late in the disease.
What we are trying to do is get rid of the plaque amyloid protein while it is still inside the cell, at a much earlier stage in the progression of the disease.
Schubert also levels his frustrations at the federal government from which his research institute is funded. Marijuana’s Schedule I controlled substance status along with the pharmaceutical lobby in Washington limits the amount of cannabis that can be used for research.
The pharmaceutical companies want to stop the use of cannabis in the research community because it’s a natural product, so it can’t be patented.
That’s the reason they don’t have any incentive to use it in the development of new drugs. They can’t make money on it, so they are against it. – Schubert
Alzheimer’s Disease and baby boomers
The large baby-boomer generation is living longer than ever before and unfortunately, a portion of that population will develop Alzheimer’s disease, which is why pharmaceutical companies can’t be bothered with natural alternatives like cannabis (there’s too much money to lose). Let’s
Let’s hope, however, that those notably rebellious spirits will give cannabis a try.
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