Marijuana protects the brain from Alzheimer's disease better than any available drugs

News Release

Marijuana's Active Ingredient Shown to Inhibit Primary Marker of Alzheimer's Disease

Discovery Could Lead to More Effective Treatments

LA JOLLA, CA, August 9, 2006 - Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found that the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, the primary pathological marker for Alzheimer's disease. In fact, the study said, THC is "a considerably superior inhibitor of [amyloid plaque] aggregation" to several currently approved drugs for treating the disease.

The study was published online August 9 in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

According to the new Scripps Research study, which used both computer modeling and biochemical assays, THC inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which acts as a "molecular chaperone" to accelerate the formation of amyloid plaque in the brains of Alzheimer victims. Although experts disagree on whether the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in those areas critical to memory and cognition is a symptom or cause, it remains a significant hallmark of the disease. With its strong inhibitory abilities, the study said, THC "may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease" that would treat "both the symptoms and progression" of the disease.

"While we are certainly not advocating the use of illegal drugs, these findings offer convincing evidence that THC possesses remarkable inhibitory qualities, especially when compared to AChE inhibitors currently available to patients," said Kim Janda, Ph.D., who is Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research, a member of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and director of the Worm Institute of Research and Medicine. "In a test against propidium, one of the most effective inhibitors reported to date, THC blocked AChE-induced aggregation completely, while the propidium did not. Although our study is far from final, it does show that there is a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which THC may directly affect the progression of Alzheimer's disease."

As the new study points out, any new treatment that could halt or even slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease would have a major impact on the quality of life for patients, as well as reducing the staggering health care costs associated with the disease.

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and the numbers are growing. The Alzheimer's Association estimates 4.5 million Americans have the disease, a figure that could reach as high as 16 million by 2050. A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics noted that half of all nursing home residents have Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder. The costs of caring for Alzheimer's patients are at least $100 billion annually, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Over the last two decades, the causes of Alzheimer's disease have been clarified through extensive biochemical and neurobiological studies, leading to an assortment of possible therapeutic strategies including interference with beta amyloid metabolism, the focus of the Scripps Research study.

The cholinergic system - the nerve cell system in the brain that uses acetylcholine (Ach) as a neurotransmitter - is the most dramatic of the neurotransmitter systems affected by Alzheimer's disease. Levels of acetylcholine, which was first identified in 1914, are abnormally low in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Currently, there are four FDA-approved drugs that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease by inhibiting the active site of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for the degradation of acetylcholine.

"When we investigated the power of THC to inhibit the aggregation of beta-amyloid," Janda said, "we found that THC was a very effective inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. In addition to propidium, we also found that THC was considerably more effective than two of the approved drugs for Alzheimer's disease treatment, donepezil (Aricept ®) and tacrine (Cognex ®), which reduced amyloid aggregation by only 22 percent and 7 percent, respectively, at twice the concentration used in our studies. Our results are conclusive enough to warrant further investigation."

Ginkgo Won't Prevent Alzheimer's, Study Finds - but Yes Weed Can

Marijuana is the Most Effective Herbal Remedy Known to Mankind Marijuana remains your best bet for protecting yourself from, or even treating yourself for, Alzheimer's disease! Here is a report that one herbal remedy, Ginko biloba has no anti-Alzheimer's activity, followed by excerpts from a Scripps study that proves that THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, is the best-know remedy for the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. But the federal government will not fund nor permit studies on how to utilize this compound to help us because it is so involved with maintaining the war on marijuana in order to fill prison cells for the prison-industrial complex. Even if you've never thought of smoking marijuana and are totally disinterested in anything having to do with "High Times" culture, you must understand that the prohibition of cannabis/marijuana is harming you by preventing you and your loved ones from having safe access to remedies that can protect us all from terrible illnesses.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 HealthDay News -- Yet another study, this one by French researchers, finds that the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba won't prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease."One would hope that this would be the final nail in the coffin for ginkgo," said Dr. Sam Gandy, the Mount Sinai chair in Alzheimer's Disease Research and associate director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in New York City. "Dead and buried. Enough said. Time to move on."The report is published in the Sept. 6 online edition of The Lancet Neurology.

via Ginkgo Won't Prevent Alzheimer's, Study Finds - US News and World Report.

From the Scripps Research Institute, August 9, 2006: We demonstrate that the active component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer's disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.