Saturday, January 27, 2018

Researchers Believe A Chemical In Marijuana Could Help Treat Alzheimer's Disease

Few diseases cause more anxiety than Alzheimer's. It's a heartbreaking disease – the kind that we'd enlist just about any weapon to fight. And, thanks to the dedicated work of researchers, it looks like an unexpected weapon might show incredible promise for a breakthrough. Here's hoping it makes good on its promise.

Researchers studying the progression of Alzheimer's disease had a happy accident when experimenting with the protein that causes Alzheimer's symptoms to appear.

As expected, the amyloid beta protein started inflammation in cell cultures, causing a series of reactions, including the production of a couple of chemicals that indicate to cells that they should self-destruct. Of course, those cells destroying themselves would lead to mental decline.

However, a surprise showed up among those chemicals produced – a substance called arachidonic acid.  

It's also associated with cell death. While the researchers could have merely included it as part of the Alzheimer's progression, they chose to look into it further. Arachidonic acid happens to be cannabinoid, a cousin of THC. Where arachidonic acid produces inflammation, however, THC reduces stress.

So the researchers thought, hey, what if we add some THC to the cell cultures while the amyloid beta protein was building up.

They figured the THC would reverse the process, preventing inflammation and cell death. They were right. In fact, THC was the only cannabinoid to do so, and it even reduced the amount of amyloid beta in the cells. The cells could heal themselves. Talk about a remarkable result.

Although this is a promising development, there are a couple of important caveats. First, this experiment was only on cell cultures. What would actually happen inside the body is unproven.

Also, the researchers aren't sure how the THC actually achieved the results it did. So it's amazingly promising, but it's only a first step. 


Author: verified_user