- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Preventing Alzheimer's Disease With Marijuana Use
Alzheimer's disease is a breakdown of the brain tissue that usually affects people over the age of 65. The early symptoms are reduced abilities to remember, understand and speak. At first, only recent memory loss is noticeable. As the disease progresses, sufferers are unable to pay attention or do simple math exercises. Ultimately, those with Alzheimer’s suffer more dangerous mood swings and become disoriented. Loss of coordination develops and finally, the person with Alzheimer’s becomes physically helpless, incontinent and is barely able to communicate. Alzheimer’s victims may have the disease for just a few years before death, or it can last as long as 20 years and end in death. Alzheimer’s is not part of the natural aging process. It is a disease that is the sixth leading cause of death in the US.
Medical researchers have found that Alzheimer’s is caused by 2 main forms of nerve damage to the brain.
1. Nerve cells develop tangles called neurofibrillary tangles.
2. Beta-amyloid plaques which are protein deposits build up in the brain and prevent proper brain function.
Some of the proteins that cause Alzheimer’s are genetically determined. A person with a parent who had or has Alzheimer’s is at higher risk.
For people over the age of 50, mental deterioration is the number 1 fear, and Alzheimer’s cases are expected to triple during the next 50 years.
Scientists have recently learned that chemical compounds found in marijuana have a strong likelihood of preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases as well as age related dementia. The THC and CBD cannabinoids dampen inflammation and protect brain cells from damage. Some experts believe it is a strong possibility that people who smoke a large amount of marijuana in their 20’s and 30’s will not get Alzheimer’s. This is supported by a study of individuals who smoked marijuana in their 20’s and 30’s and are now in their 60’s and 70’s and are not getting the disease at anywhere near the rate of the rest of the population in this age group.
Currently, more than 5 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer’s, and it cost about 203 billion dollars in 2013 to care for those diagnosed. The ability to prevent this disease with a low cost drug derived from cannabis is exciting to say the least.
The medical and scientific community is not supporting marijuana use at stoner levels which impairs memory, focus and decision making. It is working on scientific solutions that not only prevent Alzheimer’s but also treat anxiety, depression, epilepsy and other diseases that would benefit from cannabis medication that does not cause harmful side effects.
Many sick people would have difficulty inhaling smoke and the cannabinoid medication of the future will be in a form such as a patch. In Canada and some parts of Europe, two medications that are marijuana based and in the form of a mouth spray that treats spasticity, cancer pain and neuropathic pain are available today.
As the scientific community discovers more and more health benefits from cannabis and as diseases like Alzheimer’s continue to cause so much suffering and expense, the criminality of marijuana is becoming increasingly ridiculous.