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Cannabis can prevent Alzheimer's
Around 1.5 million people in Germany suffer from dementia, most of them have Alzheimer's. The neurodegenerative disease has not yet been curable, but can be delayed with medication in the early stages. Study results now show that cannabis can also help against Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's is not curable
In Germany alone, around 1.5 million people suffer from dementia, the majority of them from Alzheimer's. There are around 47 million dementia patients worldwide. And there are more and more: According to the World Alzheimer's Report, another dementia diagnosis is made every 3.2 seconds. Although the disease has not yet been curable, it can be delayed with medication in the early stages. There is also evidence that brain jogging can help prevent Alzheimer's. And now researchers are reporting on a study that cannabis may also have a preventive effect on Alzheimer's.
Marijuana helps with various diseases
Scientifically, cannabis has already been proven many times that it has a positive effect on health. Marijuana has long been used in medicine to treat chronic pain, for example, or to treat spastic paralysis and cramps in multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition, there have been reports years ago that marijuana can relieve Alzheimer's. A new study by scientists from the "Salk Institute for Biological Studies" in California now also indicates that cannabis can at least delay the development of Alzheimer's.
THC can affect harmful deposits
In their investigation, the researchers led by Professor David Schubert found evidence that the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the hemp plant can influence harmful protein deposits on nerve cells. The scientists recently published their results in the specialist journal "Aging and Mechanisms of Disease". It was shown that THC can apparently prevent the formation of beta-amyloid and can even destroy existing beta-amyloid cells. According to experts, the appearance of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is the first sign of Alzheimer's disease.
Marijuana works against Alzheimer's
To get their results, the scientists used modified nerve cells that produce high levels of beta-amyloid. They found that THC reduced inflammatory reactions and beta-amyloid plaques, and more nerve cells survived. Researchers at the University of South Florida in Tampa (USA) had reported years ago that THC prevents the production of the protein amyloid-beta and its accumulation in the brain. Study author Chuanhai Cao said at the time: "THC is known to be an effective antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but our study is the first indication that it is directly effective against Alzheimer's disease."
Older studies confirmed
Even if the findings of the current study are not entirely new, they are still important because they confirm older studies on the one hand and make a significant contribution to the understanding of Alzheimer's and the connection with beta-amyloid cells on the other. It is still unclear whether THC will actually be used to treat Alzheimer's in the future. Additional reviews, including clinical trials, would be required before the findings could lead to actual treatment. (ad)