Medical marijuana has potential as Alzheimer's treatment, study says

Photo Credit: Brainstorm Blog

Photo Credit: Brainstorm Blog

A recent study revealed the cannabinoid THC stimulates the removal of toxic plaque from the brain, something that signifies a key feature of Alzheimer's. THC also blocks inflammation that causes damage to neurons in the brain. Senior researcher and professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies David Schubert found THC activated cannabinoid receptors, which prevented the accumulation of plaque and the death of nerve cells as well as stopped brain inflammation. Because dying neurons on the brain contribute to memory loss and decreased mental ability, cannabis' ability to prevent cell death could obstruct the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Schubert said, "It is reasonable to conclude that there is therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease."

In support of these findings, Dr. David Casarett, chief of palliative care services at Duke University, says "I spoke to many family members of people with mild or moderate dementia who believed that THC or whole-plant marijuana was effective in alleviating the confusion and agitation that sometimes occurs." Additionally, in a 2014 review of marijuana research, Dutch scientists suggest two studies show THC treats behavioral symptoms of dementia. In addition, a small 2016 study of 11 participants found THC decreased delusions, agitation or aggression, irritability, apathy and sleep in Alzheimer's patients.

This information has been provided by CNN and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.