Charles Feldmann, Esq.
A recent study conducted by Nature Partner Journals found that
medical marijuana could potentially be a useful treatment for Alzheimer’ disease. The study revealed that THC stimulates the removal of toxic amyloid plaque
in the brain, a common characteristic of the neurodegenerative disease,
thus preventing the death of cells and stopping brain inflammation.
Existing research has already shown that medical cannabis is useful to
ease certain symptoms in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, like
irritability, agitation, aggression, delusions, and apathy. With this
new research, scientists are hoping to find something more along the lines
of a preventative treatment or a cure.
So far, there is still no cure for neurodegenerative diseases because they
cause such complex damage to the brain. Some believe that another reason
is that contemporary researchers are too narrowly focused and are not
considering alternative treatments. While most research has targeted the
removal of amyloid plaques, the kicker is that some patients have brains
filled with plaques that retain normal cognitive function, while other
patients may not have any and still suffer from dementia.
According to David Schubert, senior researcher and a professor at Salk
Institute for Biological Studies, “it is reasonable to conclude
that there is therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the treatment
of Alzheimer’s disease.” His research began a decade ago when
he and his colleagues created a drug derived from turmeric. Animal testing
revealed that the drug reduced inflammation and decreased damage to the
nerve system in animals modeling Alzheimer’s disease. The reason
the drug was so effective is that it worked through a pathway of cannabinoid
receptors. The endocannabinoid system, which was named after the marijuana
plant, helps diverse cells coordinate and communicate. Schubert then repeated
his tests with marijuana to see if its cannabinoid, THC, would produce
similar results. It did.
Keith Fargo, the director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s
Association, admits that medical cannabis is a “legitimate avenue
of research.” While many doctors are excited by the possibilities,
many more still remain skeptical, stating that there is still insufficient
evidence to say definitively what effect this kind of therapy would have
Unfortunately, marijuana research is surrounded by regulations, making
it difficult for scientists to learn more about the potential medical
benefits of cannabis. Relatively few researchers are currently exploring
medical marijuana in this country, with only a small number of ongoing
clinical trials underway with very few participants.
Despite marijuana’s federal classification as a Schedule I drug with
no recognized medical use, Schubert, as well as many other reputable scientists
and doctors, are convinced that cannabis has legitimate medical use.
To discuss your marijuana matter, please contact a Marijuana Business Attorney
at Feldmann Nagel Margulis.