Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways. Interestingly, findings also indicate that cannabis isn’t only effective in the treatment, but also the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
Scientists at the University of Southern Florida conducted their study by giving one group of rats a constant dose of a cannabis derivative for three consecutive weeks and nothing to a second group of rats. Follow-up memory tests conducted on the rats indicated the treated rats did better than the control rats in learning and remembering how to locate the concealed platform. The results indicate cannabis may be effective in preventing memory loss.
According to the American Academy of Neurology, those afflicted with this disease experience problems in behavior, memory and personality changes as well as a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making, language skills and problems recognizing family and friends. Symptoms develop slowly over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with everyday tasks. Other cognitive abilities such as swallowing, walking or controlling bladder and bowl due to inflammation around the brain decline as the disease progresses over time. Minor infections are also common in incapacitated patients. Typically, treatment regarding daily health regiment routines become particularly difficult to deal with because Alzheimer’s patients are unable to understand and participate in their own treatment.
Previous studies have shown that cannabinoids in cannabis are anti-inflammatory and also act as anti-oxidants, which prevent contamination of cells including brain cells. They also organically interact with communication systems in the body to bring customary balance. Chuanhai Cao, PhD, the lead author of the study, was on a mission to further illuminate the therapeutic qualities of THC as an effective drug to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s as THC lowers certain markers of the disease.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective assets, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” he said.
Currently Dr. Cao’s laboratory at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute is investigating the effects of a medicinal cocktail that includes THC and caffeine as well as other organic compounds in a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers stress that at the low doses studied the therapeutic benefits of THC appear to reign over related risks of THC toxicity and memory loss.
“The dose and target population are critically important for any drug, so careful monitoring and control of drug levels in the blood and system are very important for therapeutic use, especially for a compound such as THC,” Dr. Cao said.
There are other neuroscientists in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease who have discovered supportive evidence, like MD/PhD Neel Nabar whose research findings show that THC boosts the body’s ability to fight the disease. It’s also believed by many neuroscientists that smoking cannabis in early adulthood may prevent the beginning of Alzheimer’s later in life.
Do you know someone who treats their Alzheimer’s Disease with cannabis? What do you use cannabis for? Tell us in the comments.