Groundbreaking research has just discovered that a cannabis compound can put Alzheimer’s in its place. THC actually reduces excess protein build-up and damaging brain cell inflammation. Though skeptics have been trying to say otherwise for years, it’s finally proven: cannabis holds the cure for Alzheimer’s.
What causes the disease?
No one knows specifically what causes some aging adults to develop Alzheimer’s disease. However, we do know that those with the condition have a build-up of “plaques” in their brain. These plaques are specific types of proteins called amyloid plaques.
The build-up of these proteins blocks communication between nerve cells. Over time, the nerve cells become inflamed. This causes the brain to slowly degenerate over time. Basically, there’s so much extra “gunk” in the brain that the organ can no longer function properly. Fortunately, THC just might be the cure.
Cannabis holds cure for Alzheimer’s
Research published this week [July 1] found that THC, the main psychoactive in cannabis, eliminates plaque build-up. The compound actually reverses the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, a study from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that THC reduced protein build-up and eased inflammation.
Study author David Schubert provides more details:
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.
Schubert and the Salk team tested THC’s effect on plaque build-up outside of the body. The researchers used special human nerve cells grown to mimic Alzheimer’s disease.
THC for brain health
Their findings show that the psychoactive contributes to brain health in two ways. First, it cuts down the build-up of neurotoxins that cause disease. Secondly, the herb reduces brain-damaging inflammation. The Salk Institute’s findings are more data to add to the list of research suggesting that cannabis encourages brain health, psychoactive or not.
The Salk study is also backed up by earlier research which found that THC prevents brain plaque build-up from occurring. Back in 2006, scientists found that the cannabinoid blocks an enzyme that creates these neurotoxins, preventing them from getting out of hand. But, the Salt team is the first to demonstrate that THC does more than just help manage symptoms.
Another member fo the team,Antonio Currais, explains:
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.
Cannabis as prevention
Additional research has suggested that low doses of THC may be helpful for preventing Alzheimer’s in the first place. In 2008, researchers at Ohio State University found that cannabis may actually help preserve memory.
Using a synthetic THC (the real stuff is difficult to come by for researchers), the team found that cannabinoids reduced brain inflammation and helped stimulate memory-forming neurons in aging brains. Study co-author Yannick Marchalant says:
When we’re young, we reproduce neurons and our memory works fine. When we age, the process slows down, so we have a decrease in new cell formation in normal aging. You need those cells to come back and help form new memories, and we found that this THC-like agent can influence creation of those cells.
Though memory is one of the most debated health impacts of cannabis, this incredible research suggests that there’s more to THC than is commonly believed. The cannabinoid is a powerful antioxidant. It fights inflammation and downright eliminates disease-causing neurotoxins. With all of this great news, when are we going to legalize already?
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