Add another link to the growing chain of studies showing that certain chemicals found in the cannabis plant can help Alzheimer’s patients. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease shows that THC can slow or end the progress of the disease.
But it’s more complicated than giving patients a joint to toke — though puffing apparently has it’s benefits as well. Researchers at the University of South Florida treated isolated Alzheimer’s cells in a lab with varying amounts of THC. The results show that THC reduces or eliminates the protein buildup associated with the disease.
Alzheimer’s attacks the brain by building up plaques that cause inflammation. Marijuana, coincidentally, has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, 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,” the study’s lead author wrote in the journal. “Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future.”
But even toking up regularly can help prevent the disease from taking hold, according to some studies. An Ohio State University researcher earlier this year told the Seattle Post Intelligencer that a puff of pot a day can help reverse memory impairment.