A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease

A California based study recently demonstrated that the active component of marijuana, Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. These markers bond to neurons in the brain and are one of the key factors, if not the cause of Alzheimer’s disease in many patients.  Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients as well as reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer’s disease.

You can find the full details of the study here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2562334/pdf/nihms61230.pdf

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