Forget everything you think you know about the effects of marijuana. A study published in the journal Nature proposes that THC, the main active ingredient in the devil's weed, may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. It's an an irony that won't be lost on even the highest dope fiend: A substance that, in its popular conception, is supposed to make you forgetful might in fact help ward off a disease whose symptoms include memory loss.
CBS 5 has a report on the study, which was conducted on lab-grown human neurons by scientists at the Salk Institute in San Diego. Researchers determined that the toxic protein associated with the Alzheimer's, amyloid beta, might be reduced by THC.
"Cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol stimulate the removal of intraneuronal [amyloid beta], block the inflammatory response, and are protective," the report reads. "Altogether these data show that there is a complex and likely autocatalytic inflammatory response within nerve cells caused by the accumulation of intracellular [amyloid beta], and that this early form of proteotoxicity can be blocked by the activation of cannabinoid receptors."
“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,” Salk Professor David Schubert, the paper's senior author, said in a release. To use THC as a therapy or preventative measure, Schubert says, clinical trials must be conducted.
As Forbes points out with regard to the new findings, there are ways other than drug-doing stimulate your cannabinoid system. Exercise, for example, increases your production of endocannabinoids. Of course, to exercise, one needs to leave the couch.