Researchers found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as other compounds, helped to remove one of the key substances thought to trigger the onset of Alzheimer’s: amyloid beta-protein. THC is the chemical in marijuana that gives users a high and can also act as a pain reliever. Amyloid beta-protein build up in nerve cells with aging eventually forming plaque on the brain.
“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,” says Professor David Schubert, senior author of the paper.
The study’s authors used neurons grown in a lab to test the effects of THC. While the study is not conclusive and tests have not been conducted on humans, the research will still be useful in investigating how to mitigate the effects and onset of Alzheimer’s. Schubert said clinical trials would need to be conducted for before THC-like compounds can be used as a therapy. (RELATED: Medical Marijuana Study Shows Stunning Effect On Treating Pain, Nausea)
According to Maxim the test was done in a clinical environment using petri dishes and is not a signal to start passing around joints in nursing homes.
But before you send your weed delivery guy to grandma’s house, it’s important to note that these tests were done in a petri dish, not in someone’s head, and that marijuana’s other effects, such as impaired memory, could possibly negate the other benefits. Then again, if Cheech Marin’s memory is good enough to destroy Anderson Cooper at Jeopardy, maybe there’s still more to uncover about marijuana’s mental benefits.