The same compounds in marijuana that make you get high may protect you from Alzheimer's.
The San Diego–based Salk Institute released a new study revealing that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds removed toxins associated with the disease known as amyloid beta from lab-grown human neurons.
"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 senior author of the paper, said in statement.
As the U.S. population increases and people live longer, the number of people with Alzheimer's is soaring. More than 5 million Americans are affected and that number is expected to triple over the next 50 years. Past research has found that amyloid beta accumulates within the nerve cells of the brain before the appearance of Alzheimer's. When the amyloid clump together, they are thought to form the plaque deposits that progress the disease.
In the study published in the June 2016 Aging and Mechanisms of Disease journal, the researchers revealed a relationship between high levels of amyloid beta and cellular inflammation and higher rates of neuron death. When cells grown in the lab were exposed to THC, the amyloid beta protein levels decreased and as a result the cells didn't become inflamed and survived.
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