New research published in the journal Nature suggests THC and other cannabinoids fight aggregating proteins, like beta amyloid, which are found within neurons, increase with age, and have been linked to the development of Alzheimer's. In this study, David Schubert and other researchers at the Salk Institute found that intracellular beta amyloid produces a toxic inflammatory response that damages the cell. Researchers then found that when cannabinoids like THC were introduced, they stimulated the removal of intraneuronal beta amyloid proteins, which blocked the inflammatory response and protected the cell.
Because of the difficulties associated with researching medical marijuana, a Schedule I substance, Schubert used lab-grown tissue cultures that mimicked the expression of intracellular amyloid proteins in a central nervous system nerve cell in the distinct form of nerve cell death. In this way, Schubert only needed microscopic amounts of THC for his study. With the reclassification of medical marijuana, these research barriers will be knocked down, which would allow for more in depth clinical trials that could revolutionize our understanding of medical marijuana and the effect it has on Alzheimer's and a plethora of other conditions.