The lead author of this study, Dr. Lisa M. Eubanks and colleagues published their findings August 9, 2006 in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics. The researchers showed this about the health benefits from THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. THC preserves an important neurotransmitter that regulates communication between nerves in the brain by preventing an enzyme from breaking it down.
THC Benefits: May Slow Alzheimer's ProgressionExcerpt from the Scripps press release:
“THC inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which acts as a molecular chaperon to accelerate the formation of amyloid plaque in the brains of Alzheimer victims. Although experts disagree on whether the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in those areas critical to memory and cognition is a symptom or cause, it remains a significant hallmark of the disease. With its strong inhibitory abilities, the study said, THC may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease that would treat both the symptoms and progression of the disease.”Alzheimer’s Disease is quickly climbing the top ten causes of death list in America so this research in treating the disease is quickly getting more and more important every year.
Alzheimer's and MarijuanaI have written on the topic of Alzheimer’s a few times already. You might be interested to learn more about clinical findings on the disease and treatment for it in some of my recent posts such as:
- Alzheimer's Disease and Atherosclerosis May Be Linked
- Does Soda Cause Alzheimer’s Disease? and
- Ibuprofen Might Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Despite The Benefits of THCThis post wouldn't be quite complete however without stating the opposite side of the argument. Pot wouldn't be considered illegal if it wasn't for it's sensory altering properties. It is a controlled substance and it is illegal so despite the potential benefits of THC you would still be advised to stop smoking weed until acceptability occurs in the eyes of the law.
Yes, there are many arguments for and against the leagalization of marijuana, this finding being one of them, so the fight is up to the American public and the clinicians that find legitimate uses for these kinds of products. In the mean time check out this resource on how to prevent early onset dementia... at least until THC is legal.
...and for those of you REALLY interested in learning as much as you can about THC, Canabis, and Pot you may want to pull out your reading glasses and check out this magnum opus by Julie Holland, M.D. It's a 576 page beast of a book called The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis. It was recently released and has excellent reviews over on Amazon.
Source: NIH – PubMed Central - http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2562334
Scripps Research Institute - http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/080906.html