Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about the potential use of medical marijuana to treat or alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Even though there are claims of major flaws of this potential breakthrough, a few studies have been carried out to buttress the fact that marijuana could indeed be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a 2014 preclinical study that was done at the University of South Florida and published via the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, low levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can reduce the sticky protein beta-amyloid, which accumulates in the Alzheimer’s brain. It is nevertheless worthy to note that THC is the chemical in marijuana that is responsible for the high. Researchers from the University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute have actually demonstrated that extremely low doses of THC reduce the production of the soluble form of amyloid beta which is common in most aging brains. This also goes a long way to prevent the abnormal accumulation of this protein (amyloid beta) which is considered one of the pathological hallmark characteristics in the early phase of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the researcher further asserted that low concentrations of THC also selectively enhanced mitochondrial function which is extremely vital in the supply of energy, transmission of signals as well as maintenance of a healthy brain.
Nonetheless, even though THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, researchers at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute were the first to report that the compound is linked with directly affecting Alzheimer’s pathology by lowering the levels of amyloid beta, enhancing mitochondrial function as well as inhibiting its aggregation. The researchers equally pointed the fact that the by studying low doses, the therapeutic benefits of THC appeared to prevail over the risks associated with THC toxicity as well as memory impairment.
It is nevertheless imperative to note that decreased levels of amyloid beta in the brain simply implies less aggregation, which could go a long way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from progressing. Similarly, there are claims that THC or its analogs may be useful in developing an effective treatment in the future since it’s a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor.
Israeli researchers have also carried out a study that corroborates the fact that medical marijuana could be useful in the treatment of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This claim was asserted after a study that assessed the use of cannabis oil as an adjunct pharmacotherapy treatment in ten Alzheimer’s disease patients. It is however imperative to note that this study was carried out over a period of several weeks. Results from this study nevertheless indicated that drug administration was associated with a very significant reduction of the severity scores of patient’s symptoms. Further detailed results however indicated that the ingestion of cannabis oil by the patients corresponded to decreased levels of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms including aggression, delusions, apathy as well as irritability.
The Israeli researchers therefore concluded that one of the safest and most promising treatment options of Alzheimer’s disease is adding medical cannabis in patient’s pharmacotherapy. It should however be recalled that preclinical studies had previously theorized that cannabis could be neuroprotective against the onset of the disease.
Another study from the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, has also proven that tetrahydrocannabinol as well as other compounds found in marijuana may reduce the amount of beta amyloid in the brain, thereby reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This assertion can however be explained by the fact that beta amyloid is a hallmark characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease and it is also commonly known to cause the neurodegenerative disease. In this study, researchers found out that exposing beta amyloid proteins to THC led to a reduction in the levels of the beta amyloid, thereby stopping the inflammatory response from the nerve cells caused by beta amyloid and allowing the cells of the nerve to survive. The researchers however claim that a major breakthrough point of this study was when they were able to identify the fact that the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to amyloid beta. It therefore became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying. This assertion can be explained by the fact that inflammation within the brain is known as a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease. More so, it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the nerve cells themselves.
Despite these preclinical evidences, researchers have however also warned against drawing conclusions even though they are optimistic about their findings. Researchers have cautioned that just because a drug is effective does not mean that it can be safely used by everyone. Rather, these findings may lead to the development or creation of related compounds that are safer, legal and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Marijuana strains reported to help with Alzheimer’s disease:
• Acapulco Gold
• Dutch Dragon
• The OX
• White Russian
• Purple Kush
• NYC Diesel
How To Get Medical Marijuana
If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Alzheimer’s Disease or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.