Research Confirms THC Inhibits Dementia

The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and the Worm Institute for Research and Medicine have announced there is a molecular link between the active component of marijuana and the Alzheimer’s disease pathology.  Delivered in chemical term, tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) completely inhibits the enzyme, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE- induced amyloid B peptide (AB) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease.

A team of University of Connecticut researchers reported in a study for Molecular Pharmaceutics that marijuana “could be considerably better at suppressing the malformed proteins that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, better than any approved prescription”.

Alzheimer’s Among the Aging Baby Boomers

Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia.  Over five million people currently have Alzheimer’s in one of it’s stages, which progresses from early onset to full-blown dementia, sometimes within a matter of a few years.  It is the leading cause of death in people aged sixty-five and over. With baby boomers going into old age, the numbers are expected to triple by the year 2050 if a cure is not found for the disease.

Interest in the medical aspects of marijuana increased when Gary Wenk, a professor of neuroscience with Ohio State, noticed that people who had smoked marijuana in the 1960’s – 1970’s were more dementia free than those who had not.  He has since begun prescribing moderate use of marijuana to elderly people demonstrating the symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s.  He states that it’s working.

How Medical Marijuana Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease

Marijuana reduces inflammation in the brain, which is not only the hallmark for Azheimer’s disease, but several other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis.  However, initial tests revealed that while THC can serve as an anti-inflammatory, it can also increase the induction of cyclooxygenase-2, a complex neurochemical process that is usually set off by inflammation.

The potential negative effects of THC to increase COX-2 can be counter-balanced with an anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen.  Not only did the combination of the THC and COX inhibitor decrease brain inflammation, when used on mice in experiments by the Louisiana School of Medicine, they notice an absence of lethargy and the memory – impairing effects on brain cells generally associated with the chronic use of THC.

There are currently no prescription drugs that will cure Alzheimer’s.  The best medical science has been able to do is slow down its progress.  America’s largest generation is reaching the critical age when Alzheimer’s typically makes its appearance, yet the Federal Government shows no signs of clearing the way for medical marijuana treatment.  There is strong evidence that THC combined with a COX inhibitor will decrease the chances of developing dementia and even arresting its spread, allowing people to grow into old age with healthy, normal brain functions.