Scientists at the University of Southern Florida conducted their study by giving one group of rats a constant dose of a cannabis derivative for three consecutive weeks and nothing to a second group of rats. Follow-up memory tests conducted on the rats indicated the treated rats did better than the control rats in learning and remembering how to locate the concealed platform. The results indicate cannabis may be effective in preventing memory loss.
According to the American Academy of Neurology, those afflicted with this disease experience problems in behavior, memory and personality changes as well as a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making, language skills and problems recognizing family and friends. Symptoms develop slowly over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with everyday tasks.
Other cognitive abilities such as swallowing, walking or controlling bladder and bowl due to inflammation around the brain decline as the disease progresses over time. Minor infections are also common in incapacitated patients. Typically, treatment regarding daily health regiment routines become particularly difficult to deal with because Alzheimer’s patients are unable to understand and participate in their own treatment.
Previous studies have shown that cannabinoids in cannabis are anti-inflammatory and also act as anti-oxidants, which prevent contamination of cells including brain cells. They also organically interact with communication systems in the body to bring customary balance. Chuanhai Cao, PhD, the lead author of the study, was on a mission to further illuminate the therapeutic qualities of THC as an effective drug to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s as THC lowers certain markers of the disease.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective assets, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” he said.
Currently Dr. Cao’s laboratory at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute is investigating the effects of a medicinal cocktail that includes THC and caffeine as well as other organic compounds in a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers stress that at the low doses studied the therapeutic benefits of THC appear to reign over related risks of THC toxicity and memory loss.
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