Medical Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease
The question is what is Alzheimer’s disease and how can medical marijuana help a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. First and foremost, Alzheimer’s disease is a serious and irreversible brain disorder which destroys a person’s ability to remember and critically think, to the point of disrupting even the simplest and most natural tasks. This is because abnormal protein clumps and bundles of fibers are forming in the brain, medically termed as ‘amyloid plaques’ and ‘neurofibrillary tangles’. These abnormalities affect and disturbs the transmission of messages among neurons, leading to serious issues such as loss of body control (e.g. bowel functions), loss of memory, speech impediment, and unpredictability in behavior. As the diseases progresses, neurons die resulting to a significant shrinking of the brain tissue, which is why those who have died of Alzheimer’s disease have a significantly smaller brain than those who does not have the disease.
Due to the fact that Alzheimer’s disease is incurable and irreversible, many have resorted to non-traditional medications including the use of medical marijuana. Cannabis sativa or marijuana has multiple types of cannabinoids, and this includes Tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta-9 THC which was found to be somehow effective in reducing and removing the excess protein in the brain. Apparently, research studies show that the toxin from the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles binds with the Delta-9 THC – this means that it connects with the toxin in the patient’s brain, and removes it THC leaves the body naturally. Note that Alzheimer’s disease can take its victims life in three years, depending on the age of the patient as well as his or her previous lifestyle choices. Some cases can live up to ten years despite the disease, however, this is a degenerative problem which means that even though the patient lives longer, it does not mean that the symptoms are shown at a slower rate. Symptoms can blow up all at once, by then, the ability of the patient to be a functional person is severely compromised.
Medical marijuana then comes into picture, not specifically by curing, but only to somehow manage some symptoms such as to control aggression, because patients who have Alzheimer’s can become easily agitated. Before the studies regarding the possible effects of marijuana to patients with Alzheimer’s, cannabinoids are well-known to be a “downer” or relaxant, this means that it can lower a person’s energy levels and prevent aggression or extreme anger for people who are suffering from the said disease. Another benefit that medical marijuana can bring to people with Alzheimer’s is it can reduce inflammation and somehow prevent protein accumulation. It is the Tetrahydrocannabinol that allows such effects, in fact, researchers are trying to create a synthetic form of the Delta 9 THC by modifying a yeast in order to produce the beneficial substance without having to deal with the addictive components of cannabis sativa. Scientifically, THC also allows the nerve cells to protect themselves from the toxin produced by the protein clumps, and it some studies are promising.
Despite these remarkable logic on why medical marijuana should be legalized in all the other parts of the globe, the data is still inconclusive, which means that the results can still vary especially because marijuana does not contain just THC, it also has other cannabinoids which can affect the brain negatively.