Cannabinoids remove plaque-forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells
Very interesting finding reported by the Salk Institute:
Salk Institute scientists have found preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in marijuana can promote the cellular removal of amyloid beta, a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
While these exploratory studies were conducted in neurons grown in the laboratory, they may offer insight into the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and could provide clues to developing novel therapeutics for the disorder.
“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 Salk Professor David Schubert, the senior author of the paper.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to memory loss and can seriously impair a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks. It affects more than five million Americans according to the National Institutes of Health, and is a leading cause of death. It is also the most common cause of dementia and its incidence is expected to triple during the next 50 years.
It has long been known that amyloid beta accumulates within the nerve cells of the aging brain well before the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and plaques. Amyloid beta is a major component of the plaque deposits that are a hallmark of the disease. But the precise role of amyloid beta and the plaques it forms in the disease process remains unclear.
In a manuscript published in June 2016’s Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, the Salk team studied nerve cells altered to produce high levels of amyloid beta to mimic aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found that high levels of amyloid beta were associated with cellular inflammation and higher rates of neuron death. They demonstrated that exposing the cells to THC reduced amyloid beta protein levels and eliminated the inflammatory response from the nerve cells caused by the protein, thereby allowing the nerve cells to survive. . .
This means, were the DEA and the Obama Administration rational, that marijuana would no longer be a Schedule I drug, since Schedule I drugs, which are drugs that satisfy three conditions:
- The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
- The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
- There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Since marijuana does not satisfy any of these (marijuana’s potential for abuse is much less that that for alcohol, which is not a Schedule I drug), marijuana is being used to treat pain and PTSD (and the use of addictive opioids for pain relief is significantly lower in states in which medical marijuana is legal), and the use of marijuana is much safer than, for example, the use of alcohol. The CDC reports: “There are more than 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths in the U.S. each year – an average of 6 alcohol poisoning deaths every day.” Alcohol is not a Schedule I drug, but it does meet all the criteria. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, but it meets none of the criteria.
This seems extremely stupid to me.