THC, the principle chemical in marijuana, appears to reduce the brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease in mice.
Mice that were genetically engineered to develop symptoms like those in Alzheimer’s, were given a synthetic form of THC for six weeks and performed as well as healthy mice on a memory test, researchers reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.
Mice given a placebo instead of THC were unable to perform the tests as well as healthy mice or those treated with THC. The mice given the placebo lost the ability to remember where to find the shallow spot in a pool of water.
Fewer brain cells were lost among the THC treated mice and their brains contained 20 percent less plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. The findings suggest that “cannabis could be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease,” said researcher Yvonne Bouter.
The researchers said they are unaware of any studies on how THC impacts people with Alzheimer’s. Getting approval to test compounds related to marijuana on people is very difficult.
When it comes to understanding the effects of marijuana on humans, people’s personal experience is far outpacing science.
Photo: “Cannabis sativa (marijuana plants) (Manhattan, Kansas, USA) 6” by James St. John is licensed underCC BY 2.0