By now most doctors and patients alike understand that medical marijuana is the real thing. As I have reported in previous issues, studies have repeatedly shown that the substances in this plant (terpines, cannabinoids, CBD, and THC) can play an enormous role in many medical conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s, seizures, chronic headaches, chronic pain, insomnia, glaucoma, anxiety, PTSD, Parkinson’s, and inflammatory bowel disorders. But is there any reason for a healthy person to take marijuana as a preventive? A new study says yes. That is, if you like your brain.
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California studied what happens to brain cells with beta amyloid plaque when they are exposed to a natural endocannabinol called arachidonoyl ethanol amide (AEA). Endocannabinols are molecules that our body makes that act like the cannabinoids in marijuana. Beta amyloid plaque is a collection of abnormal proteins that increases in brain cells as we age. Increasing levels of beta amyloid plaque are one of the major causes of Alzheimer’s and the decreased brain function associated with having birthdays. Here’s what the researchers did.
They took brain cells in culture and induced the formation of beta amyloid plaque in them. The first thing they saw was that the beta amyloid plaque produced “multiple proinflammatory genes” that ultimately killed the cells. That’s the bad news. The good news is that when they exposed the cells to AEA, they discovered that it stimulated the removal of the beta amyloid, blocked the inflammatory response, and protected the cells against any of the damage that ordinarily occurs from the beta amyloid plaque. The toxic clumps of beta amyloid were literally removed! And here’s some more good news. The exact same thing happened when they exposed the cells to THC, one of the major cannabinoids in marijuana.
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According to the authors of the study, “Altogether these data show that there is a complex and likely autocatalytic [cell killing] inflammatory response within nerve cells caused by the accumulation of intracellular beta amyloid, and that this early form of proteotoxicity can be blocked by the activation of cannabinoid receptors.” Cannabinoid receptors are the receptors in the brain that respond to the cannabinoids THC and CBD in marijuana. Again, listen to the authors of the study, “The finding supports the results of previous studies that found evidence of the protective effects of cannabinoids, including THC, on patients with neurodegenerative disease.”
David Schubert, one of the authors of the study notes, “Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer's, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells.” Back in 2006, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute found that THC actually prevents the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that produces them. And now Schubert and his team have shown that it also eliminates the plaque that is already there.
As you may know, I’ve been prescribing medical marijuana for years for my sick patients because it’s so helpful. Now, I believe, this study along with the previous Scripps study strongly suggests that all of us, certainly those who are already showing neurological symptoms such as decreased balance, hearing, memory, etc., should be using this herb as a preventive. Here’s what I would suggest.
Almost half the country has now made medical marijuana legal. If you are fortunate enough to live in one of these states, get your doctor to prescribe a form of marijuana extract called Rick Simpson Oil. This particular extract contains all the terpines and cannabinoids in marijuana including equal amounts of THC and CBD. Rub a very small amount of the oil, about ½ the size of a grain of rice, on your gums about 1 hour before you go to sleep. Reduce the amount if you are “druggy” in the morning. The studies are quite clear - marijuana products are safe and not addictive. And now, the data is strong that your brain and neurological function will be a lot better for you as a result.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Currais A, Quehenberger O, et al. Amyloid proteotoxicity initiates an inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids. NPJ Aging Mech Dis. 2016 Jun 23;2:16012.
Marijuana Compound Removes Toxic Alzheimer's Protein From The Brain
This could be huge by Bec Crew, 26 MAY 2018. https://www.sciencealert.com/