Bad news for Alzheimer’s disease: THC (the active chemical compound in marijuana) is officially acknowledged to remove the toxic bundle of amyloid beta protein that onsets the evolution of the disease, ultimately damaging the brain beyond repair.
This late discovery is backed up by previous studies revealing the effective and protective qualities of cannabinoids and THC over patients suffering from this neurodegenerative disease.
Little is known about what exactly causes Alzheimer’ disease, but so far it’s believed to be caused by two types of lesions: neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques. The amyloid plaques form dense groups between the neurons, and the neurofibrillary tangles are produced by defective tau proteins that bundle up into a thick, insoluble mass in neurons.
The biological mechanism behind the formation of these lesions is yet a mystery, but recent studies have linked the inflammation in brain tissue to the spread of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
“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, member of Scripps Research Institute.
“When we were able to identify the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to amyloid beta, it became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying,” he concluded.
David Schubert and his colleagues from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, tested the impact of THC over the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
“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,” said David Schubert.
For those unfamiliar with THC, this compound is responsible for the psychedelic effects and pain relief experienced as a result of smoking or ingesting cannabis buds. It is important to know that cannabis does not offer the state of mind and/or body high if consumed raw, requiring heat to release the THC that gives that unique tingling. Besides all these, most important is THC’s influence over HIV symptoms, chronic pain related to chemotherapy, post-traumatic stress disorder and stroke.
Scientists are so impressed with THC’s therapeutic properties that they initiated a program to breed genetically modified yeast that would yield more THC than any other method of synthesizing the compound.
On the cell surfaces all over our body can be found the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors that extract the THC directly from the bloodstream, after it passes from the lungs. In the brain, the cannabinoid receptors are found in the neurons associated with time perception, coordination, memory, thinking and pleasure, regularly binding with endocannabinoids, known to be a class of lipid molecules created by our organism during physical activities, in order to stimulate cell-to-cell signaling in the brain.
Due to tetrahydrocannabinol’s tendency to bind to lipid molecues, it interferes with brain’s ability to communicate with itself. This means that you may not be able to fully perform complex physical actitivites, but your state of mind could be at its fullest, compensating one for another.
Since THC is great for removing the harmful accumulations of amyloid beta proteins, this could mean something big for most, if not all the symptoms related to aging. So far, THC has proved itself to be very promising in reducing inflammation and plaque build-up, according to newest lab test results.
However, the government is still getting in the way of progress, despite cannabis’s potential has been clearly proved and confirmed, so the good news are that the researchers have found a backdoor in the form of a new drug called J147 that mimics identically the effects of THC, that will allow conducting further research for the sake of humanity and well-being.
The results of the study can be found HERE.