Study: marijuana reduces plaque, inflammation related to Alzheimer's

The THC and some other compounds found in marijuana have been found effective in treating many ailments, and past studies have found signs that it may be helpful in preventing Alzheimer's disease, as well. Research has indicated that marijuana reduces inflammation in the brain which may contribute to dementia and Alzheimer's, and a recent study found that it also helps strip away the plaque found in the brain of Alzheimer's patients.

The work was done by researchers with Salk Institute; according to their work, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana, as well as other cannabinoids, may help brain cells remove a toxic protein called amyloid beta that is believed to cause — or at least contribute to — Alzheimer's disease. Unlike past research from other entities, this most recent work has found evidence that marijuana may both reduce the plaque composed of amyloid beta and reduce inflammation in the brain, making it doubly protective.

The researchers conducted their work on laboratory-grown neurons, and it comes at a time when a cure is imperative. Alzheimer's disease is a terrible affliction, and the instances of it are increasing along with lifespans. Over the next 50 or so years, the medical community expects to see the rate of Alzheimer's diagnoses grow three-fold.

Current research indicates that the amyloid beta proteins may cause an inflammation response in neurons, the combination of which leads to cellular death and a progressively worsening mental state. THC and related compounds, according to the study, may trigger a protective effect that helps protect the cells from both inflammation and proteins, potentially reducing the rate of affliction or helping keep it at bay altogether.

SOURCE: MedicalXpress