Scientists may have just found an ingredient in cannabis that could help people with Alzheimer’s.
Over 5 million people in the US and around 850,000 in the UK suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. This is a severe condition where a person struggles with memory loss.
Currently, people suffering from this disease are put on symptom management medicines such as Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, or Namenda. This will help deal with the memory loss while the caretakers have to find a way to help the patient deal with the frustration, confusion, anxiety, and depression that can come with having Alzheimers.
According to a recent study, cannabis may be a useful alternative to the current drugs being prescribed. The research found that one of the major toxins of the disease known as amyloid beta was reduced in patients that used cannabis.
This specific toxin can build up in the brain and cause plaque deposits which lead to inflammation and memory loss. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol which is found in cannabis can help reduce inflammation which may allow the cells to survive.
83,000 people die every year in the US from Alzheimers. (60,000 in the UK). If this treatment could reduce or aid in the quality of life for these patients then it may be a relief to the countless families dealing with this issue.
The National Institutes of Health supported the research found by the Salk Institute of California.
“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.” -Salk Professor David Schubert
According to researcher Antonio Currais believed that a breakthrough like this could help us stop the death of brain cells which create the deterioration of our mind and body functions when we go through something like Alzheimers.
”Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the nerve cells themselves.” Said Antonio Currais
“It became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying.”
Cannabis has actually been used as medicine all over the world and can even be dated back to use in China as far back as 4000 bc. It has many uses including treating PTSD, epilepsy, chronic pain, recovering from the nausea of chemotherapy, and even brain tumors.
“Research in laboratory grown cells has shown that the active compounds in cannabis can reduce the toxic proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and could control harmful inflammation.” Said Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society Dr. James Pickett.
“However, this effect of has not been rigorously tested in studies involving people and there remains no evidence that cannabis can prevent the development of dementia.
“More research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of components of cannabis as a potential treatment for dementia.”