Marijuana may stave off Alzheimer's

By M3th · Oct 6, 2006 · ·
  1. M3th
    WASHINGTON, (Reuters) -- Good news for aging hippies: Smoking pot may stave off Alzheimer's disease.
    New research shows that the active ingredient in marijuana may prevent the progression of the disease by preserving levels of an important neurotransmitter that allows the brain to function.
    Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can prevent the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from breaking down more effectively than commercially marketed drugs.
    THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.
    The researchers said their discovery could lead to more effective drug treatment for Alzheimer's, the leading cause of dementia among the elderly.
    Those afflicted with Alzheimer's suffer from memory loss, impaired decision-making, and diminished language and movement skills. The ultimate cause of the disease is unknown, though it is believed to be hereditary.
    Marijuana is used to relieve glaucoma and can help reduce side effects from cancer and AIDS treatment.
    Possessing marijuana for recreational use is illegal in many parts of the world, including the United States, though some states allow possession for medical purposes.

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  1. mopsie
    Potheads send Alzheimer's up in smoke

    October 06, 2006
    IT seems illogical, but the same compound that addles the brains of marijuana users may help treat the symptoms and slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease, the leading cause of dementia among elderly people.
    In laboratory experiments, the compound, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), preserved levels of a brain chemical that declines in Alzheimer's, permitting the build-up of brain-gumming "amyloid plaques".

    The plaques are the hallmark of Alzheimer's and its dementia-inducing damage.

    "Our results provide a mechanism whereby the THC molecule can directly impact Alzheimer's disease pathology," researchers reported in the US journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

    The team - led by organic chemist Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California - claimed that THC holds real promise as a "drug lead", a model for developing new and more effective treatments for Alzheimer's.

    Existing drugs such as donepezil, sold as Aricept in Australia, inhibited an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase which broke down acetylcholine, the brain chemical that prevents formation of amyloid plaques.

    But THC not only acted against the enzyme, it also targeted plaque formation.

    According to pathologist and Alzheimer's expert Colin Masters, the findings were novel and unsuspected.

    "It might be possible to reformulate or rebuild the THC molecule so it has the anti-Alzheimer's effects without causing disturbances of cognition - getting high or stoned," said Professor Masters, from the University of Melbourne and the Mental Health Research Institute.

    That's so because THC acts on one group of brain molecules when it triggers a buzz and another when it fights brain-clogging plaques

  2. izzy31
    That's interesting, my grandfather died 5 or 6 years ago of Alzheimer's, and supposedly it's genetic.....
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