New Evidence in Support of Medicinal Cannabis
A recent study conducted by researchers at The Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, FL suggests a relationship between the cannabinoid system and the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Corbin Bachmeier, the study’s head researcher, Alzheimer’s disease patients could benefit from cannabinoid stimulation.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating – not only to individual patients, but entire families. It is the most common form of Dementia and places a major burden on those closest to the patient; it can take a toll of the caregiver financially, psychologically, and socially. Despite the disease’s prevalence, there is little understanding about its cause and progression, though research shows it’s related to plaques and tangles in the brain.
In accordance to this research about plaques, a common hypothesis is that Alzheimer’s is caused by deposits of Beta-Amyloid (Aβ) in the brain. Beta-Amyloid is a grouping of amino-acids, it has a number of functions within the brain. The Amyloid hypothesis has been well supported since it was proposed in 1991. More researchers are targeting Beta-Amyloid and its close relatives when studying Alzheimer’s patients.
The deposits are partly due to a reduction of the Beta-Amyloid transport protein, lipoprotein receptor-related protein1 (LRP1). The Roskamp Institute’s study paid particular attention to this protein.
How Can Cannabis Help?
Modulation of the cannabinoid system was shown to reduce Aβ brain levels and improve cognitive behavior in AD animal models — Corbin Bachmeier, The Roskamp Institute
The Roskamp Institute’s study used mice with Alzheimer’s symptoms. Researchers stimulated the cannabinoid receptors and inhibited enzymes that degrade endocannabinoids in the mice. Their results showed that Beta-Amyloid clearance across the Blood-Brain Barrier doubled; The cannabinoid system seems to have played a part in reducing the Beta-Amyloid deposits in the brain.
This isn’t the first study to suggest Alzheimer’s disease relief as an effect of cannabis. However, it is one of the first to provide a rationale for why it could be beneficial. In observing the LRP1 protein, the reachers found a significant increase (50%percent more) in the brain after cannabinoid treatment. Since this protein is responsible for transporting Beta-Amyloid across the Blood-Brain Barrier it seems rational to think more LRP1 would mean less Beta-Amyloid left behind.
This study could be the beginnings of enlightenment about Alzheimer’s disease treatment. It sheds light on to how cannabinoid treatment reduces the burden placed on the Alzheimer’s brain by Beta-Amyloid build-up. If further studies reinforce these findings the cannabinoid system could prove to be extremely beneficial in treatment.