Study: THC Protects Neurons from Damaging Effects of Alzheimer's Disease

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

New research coming from the Salk Institute has revealed THC can play an important role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease by preventing its damaging effects on neurons. The study found THC protects neurons from degeneration and reduces the inflammation caused by amyloid beta plaques. The study modified neurons so that they had high amounts of amyloid beta and caused plaque formation as seen in the neurons of Alzheimer's patients. When left untreated, the neurons developed inflammation and died, but when the neurons were exposed to cannabinoids, the plaques and their inflammation was reduced, which prolonged survival. Additionally, the study discovered that the inflammation afflicting Alzheimer's patients is actually caused by the neuron's LOX receptors, which may account for why NSAIDS have proven ineffective as a treatment.

This study is significant because the knowledge that cannabis is effective in treating Alzheimer's along with this new discovery provides insight into the pathology of Alzheimer's and inflammatory diseases that are not responsive to medications. Senior author of the paper Professor David Schubert said, “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.” The researchers hope to continue this research using mice models or clinical trials, as opposed to using neurons. 

This information has been adapted from Whaxy and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.