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Response to yawnmaster (Reply #135)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 07:07 PM

138. This is the theory behind cannabis' use as treatment for alzheimer's

Cannabis is useful for alzheimer's as an anti-inflammatory for the brain (and, if taken with ibuprohen, will not have many of the effects associated with cannabis use.)

Cannabis stunts the growth of the tendrils that lash brain cells and calms inflammation in the brain -- a hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

A review published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, (The British equivalent of the National Academy of Scientists) suggests that activating the brainís cannabinoid system may trigger a sort of anti-oxidant cleanse, removing damaged cells and improving the efficiency of the mitochrondria, the energy source that powers cells, ultimately leading to a more robustly functioning brain.

This is interesting because of the study of the impact of THC on gliomas, which found THC promoted cell death for cancerous cells by preventing the mitchochrondria from providing energy to the cancer cells - while leaving healthy cells intact. (This was done on mice and one human trial - the only human trial ever permitted for cancer cell reduction.)

Previous studies have linked cannabinoids to increased amounts of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance that protects brain cells and promotes the growth of new ones. Since new cell growth slows or stops during aging, increasing BDNF could potentially slow the decline in cognitive functions.

Another study indicated synthetic CBD promoted cell growth in the hippocampus.

A synthetic chemical similar to the active ingredient in marijuana makes new cells grow in rat brains. What is more, in rats this cell growth appears to be linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain.

In mammals, new nerve cells are constantly being produced in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, memory, anxiety and depression. Other recreational drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine and cocaine, have been shown to suppress this new growth. Xia Zhang of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and colleagues decided to see what effects a synthetic cannabinoid called HU210 had on rats' brains.

They found that giving rats high doses of HU210 twice a day for 10 days increased the rate of nerve cell formation, or neurogenesis, in the hippocampus by about 40%.


Conversely, a positive attribute of cannabis for those who suffer from PTSD is the ability to forget. Forgetting is as important to the brain as is remembering. Our brains constantly forget information that is unnecessary to know. The ability to forget information that is painful is also part of our experience as humans - that does not work correctly in those with PTSD.

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