Could Cannabis Prevent Alzheimer's?
By Afza Fathima | June 19, 2014 3:24 PM EST
A study conducted by the Stanford University's School of Medicine suggested beta-amyloid may lead to the beneficial action of endocannabinoids (brain's internal version of marijuana and hashish) being blocked in the brain. Beta-amyloid, suspected to play a key role in Azheimer's, forms the clumps choking the brains of Alzheimer patients impairing learning and memory.
Beta-amyloid may impair learning and memory in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's.
Dr. Daniel Madison, associate professor of molecular and cellular physiology, cited, "It would be wildly off the mark to assume that, just because A-beta interferes with a valuable neurophysiological process mediated by endocannabinoids, smoking pot would be a great way to counter or prevent A-beta's nefarious effects on memory and learning ability. Smoking or ingesting marijuana results in long-acting inhibition of interneurons by the herb's active chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol. That is vastly different from short-acting endocannabinoid bursts precisely timed to occur only when a signal is truly worthy of attention. Endocannabinoids in the brain are very transient and act only when important inputs come in. Exposure to marijuana over minutes or hours is different: More like enhancing everything indiscriminately, so you lose the filtering effect. It's like listening to five radio stations at once."
In the early stages of Alzheimer's, the memory begins to fade. Madison and his team analyzed beta-amyloid's effects on a structure known as hippocampus, which is a brain structured shape like a sea horse.
It was noted the first area of brain damage in those affected by Alzheimer's is the hippocampus.
Madison explained, "The hippocampus tells us where we are in space at any given time. It also processes new experiences so that our memories of them can be stored in other parts of the brain. It's the filing secretary, not the filing cabinet."
The professor said pinning down the molecular details behind amyloid-beta's effect on endocannabinoids could pave the way to new Alzheimer's drugs.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Join the Conversation
- Russia's New Tactical Nuclear Weapons Program Growing Confident Against the US: Talks of World War III
- Apple and Google Engage in Thermonuclear War, New Google Translate Chat App in the Works
- Walmart Offers the Best 2014 Black Friday Deals on iPhone 6, iPad Ai2 & Other Gadgets – Reports
- Chris Algieri’s Battered Face Trends On Social Media
- Highest Paid NBA Players 2014: NBA Stars Who Earn More Than LeBron James
- Update Samsung Galaxy S5 to Android 4.4.4 KitKat, Sprint Release and Installation
- More Nexus 6 Problems Arise with Android 5.0 Lollipop, Poor Benchmark Results and Other Issues