Though just the beginning, these exploratory laboratory experiments have suggested that THC, one of the main chemical compounds in marijuana, can help prevent alzheimers by breaking down the memory-reducing plaque that would, otherwise, form in the brain.
The plaque is comprised of proteins, including beta-amyloid, and was reproduced at the Salk Institute for testing.
The researchers grew human neurons it the laboratory. From there, they introduced the proteins, including beta-amyloid, and created the plaque build-up.
After this, they introduced THC and the results were astounding.
Not only did the THC break down the protein, but it caused the neurons to reduce in swelling. It's the swelling that can lead to additional protein build-up, so it seems that THC is working as a cleaner and a preventative.
"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," says Salk Professor David Schubert, the senior author of the paper said in a statement.
Indeed, we have cannabinoid receptors all throughout our body. Has the last 100 years of marijuana prohibition actually caused the development of alzheimers in humanity? Are we that connected to the plant? Obviously, if our body has built-in receptors for it; it has quite likely been a huge part of our evolution. To have stripped it away may have done unjust damage.
Another study actually directly shows alzheimers is caused by a loss of cannabinoids, in which they explain the importance of cannabinoids in memory and learning.
More studies are welcome (and necessary) to identify a causal link between the THC and beta-amyloid reduction, including human trials.
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