People have long been using marijuana for its medicinal effects. Dut due to its long-term side effects and negative image in the media, its medical use is still questioned. Some researchers support its advantages, while others say it does not have any health benefits at all. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted the use of two marijuana-based drugs, dronabinol, and nabilone.
Researchers have been studying the effects of marijuana on different diseases, including Alzheimer’s..
How Medicinal Marijuana May Help with Preventing Alzheimer’s
Two main components of marijuana that are said to have health benefits are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), according to telemedmj.com. One of the main differences between them is that CBD does not make you feel high, while THC does.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease concluded that the use of a very small amount of THC could decline the production of beta-amyloid proteins. These proteins form amyloid plaques in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s, and are involved in the progression of the disease. This study supported the efficacy of THC but the co-author, Neel Nabar, said that the health benefits and effectiveness of a drug do not show that it is safe to use.
Another piece of research conducted at the Silk Institute at La Jolla found that THC and other components of marijuana may diminish the beta-amyloid protein’s amount in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. The study also found that marijuana not only reduces beta-amyloid’s amount, but it may also reduce the inflammation caused by beta-amyloid and help the nerve cells live longer.
However, this research was conducted on lab models. More research and clinical studies are needed to show the effectiveness of marijuana in humans.
How Marijuana May Help with Treating Dementia
Many studies prove that marijuana may reduce the production of beta-amyloids. But some studies show different or opposite results.
Researchers from Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen conducted research on 50 patients with dementia. They studied the effects of marijuana on the symptoms of dementia, like depression, and hallucination. For the research, they divided the participants into two groups. One group received a marijuana pill three times per day for three consecutive weeks. In contrast, the other group received placebo pills for the same time period. Researchers found no change in behavior in both groups.
On the other hand, a 2016 research published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that marijuana reduced the symptoms of dementia. Researchers gave cannabis oil to 11 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and concluded that cannabis oil could be a secure and effective treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Due to such conflicting research, the use of medical marijuana still raises questions. Some reputable doctors advocate its usefulness, while others do not believe in the effectiveness of marijuana at all. More clinical studies need to be done to prove the efficacy and safety of medical marijuana.