Blocking Brains Internal Marijuana May Trigger Early Alzheimers Deficits Study Shows
A-beta, a substance suspected as a prime culprit in Alzheimers disease, may start impairing learning and memory long before plaques form in the brain.
The findings by Daniel Madison and his colleagues could pave the path to new drugs to stave off the defects in learning ability and memory that characterize Alzheimers.Norbert von der Groeben
A new study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids signaling substances that are the brains internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana and hashish in the early pathology of Alzheimers disease.
A substance called A-beta strongly suspected to play a key role in Alzheimers because its the chief constituent of the hallmark clumps dotting the brains of people with Alzheimers may, in the diseases earliest stages, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural, beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, the study demonstrates. The Stanford group is now trying to figure out the molecular details of how and where this interference occurs. Pinning down those details could pave the path to new drugs to stave off the defects in learning ability and memory that characterize Alzheimers.
Almost Every Brain Region Affected By Marijuana Use
When blood flow in the brain is reduced, this causes a reduction in the amount of oxygen that reaches brain cells, which can cause brain tissue damage and death.
According to the authors, few previous studies have assessed the effects of marijuana use on blood flow in the brain.
To address this research gap, the team used single photon emission computed tomography to measure the blood flow and brain activity of 982 individuals who had been diagnosed with a marijuana use disorder, alongside 92 healthy controls.
SPECT was used to measure participants brain blood flow and activity during a mental concentration task and when at rest.
Compared with the healthy controls, the researchers found that subjects with marijuana use disorders showed significantly reduced blood flow in almost all brain regions, but the hippocampus fared worst.
In particular, the team identified abnormally low blood flow in the right hippocampus of subjects with marijuana use disorders as they completed the concentration task.
Talking to Medical News Today, study co-author Dr. Cyrus Raji, of the University of California-San Francisco, said the team was surprised by just how much marijuana use affected brain blood flow.
Prior papers have suggested that marijuana can damage the brain. What surprised was how low blood flow was in the brains of our cohort virtually every brain area had reduced blood flow on perfusion imaging in relation to marijuana use, he told us.
Is Cannabis For Dementia Effective
According to researchers at Californias Salk Institute, the answer is an overwhelming YES. Their study has found evidence that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD could help remove dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells. Professor David Schubert led the study and in early 2017, he spoke of his frustration about the existing anti-marijuana laws that are preventing the plant from being studied in-depth.
In March 2017, he said that he submitted an application to the DEA in December 2016 to use weed extracts on mice for a different study but had received no response.
In the study, that was completed, Schuberts team used a tiny amount of synthetically developed cannabinoids and discovered that they helped with the removal of a harmful plaque associated with dementia.
The name of the protein is amyloid beta and the plaque it forms destroys nerve cells in the brain. This led scientists to believe that amyloid beta appears before the symptoms of Alzheimers.
Another study, by Aso et al. in 2015, gave mice that showed Alzheimers Disease symptoms a THC and CBD combo. They discovered that the mice displayed an improvement in learning skills and there was less evidence of amyloid beta clumps in their brains. The major issue is that there have been no widespread clinical trials to look into the effects of marijuana on dementia in human patients.
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In Vitro Studies Using Cbd For Ad
Four out of five in vitro studies using CBD were performed on PC12 neuronal cells. The results showed that CBD activated the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor- through the Wnt/-catenin pathway. As a result, it protected PC12 cells from A neurotoxicity and oxidation stress, increased cell survival, reduced ROS production, reduced lipid peroxidation, inhibited the hyperphosphirylation of tau protein, and inhibited AChE . A study conducted on SH-SY5YAPP+ cells showed that it reduced A production and actually decreased the APP full length protein levels. Additionally, CBD affected the selective activation of PPAR .
What Should You Do About Benadryl And The Risks Of Dementia
In 2008, Indiana University School of Medicine geriatrician Malaz Boustani developed the anticholinergic cognitive burden scale, which ranks these drugs according to the severity of their effects on the mind. Its a good idea to steer clear of the drugs with high ACB scores, meaning those with scores of 3. “There are so many alternatives to these drugs,” says Dr. Berry. For example, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors like citalopram or fluoxetine are good alternatives to tricyclic antidepressants. Newer antihistamines such as loratadine can replace diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine . Botox injections and cognitive behavioral training can alleviate urge incontinence.
One of the best ways to make sure youre taking the most effective drugs is to dump all your medications prescription and nonprescription into a bag and bring them to your next appointment with your primary care doctor.
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Ongoing And Future Clinical Studies
While researchers have obtained promising results from small-scale clinical testing, the time for rigorous, large-scale clinical studies is here. Several organizations around the world are preparing to undertake these studies, the results of which will provide a much clearer explanation of exactly how cannabis compounds impact the onset and development of Alzheimers Disease in humans.
- Kings College London will run a clinical study on the effect of THC and CBD on dementia patients in Fall 2019. The study is particularly focused on reducing agitation and aggression in dementia patients, which are common obstacles to effectively rendering further treatment and ensuring patient compliance. The studys lead researchers hope that oral cannabis will prove itself to be a viable alternative to antipsychotic drugs.
- The Spier Family Foundation is funding studies alongside MIND , with research aimed specifically at targeting sufferers of Alzheimers Disease. The study seeks to determine which cannabis compounds are most effective towards treating Alzheimers and whether the main psychoactive compound, THC, is therapeutically valuable.
There is currently no clinical study planned for determining the impact of CBD alone on Alzheimers patients. With luck, the results of the two studies now underway will inspire researchers to look into the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids, which may offer the secret to treating dementia in a safe, low-cost manner.
Passing Along The Message
But when the news is particularly significant, pyramidal cells squirt out their own no, this is important, you shut up! chemical endocannabinoids which bind to specialized receptors on the hippocampal interneurons, temporarily suppressing them and allowing impulses to continue coursing along the pyramidal cells to their follow-on peers.
A-beta is known to impair pyramidal-cell plasticity. But Madisons research team showed for the first time how it does so. Small clusters consisting of just a few A-beta molecules render the interneurons endocannabinoid receptors powerless, leaving inhibition intact even in the face of important news and thus squashing plasticity.
While small A-beta clusters have been known for a decade to be toxic to nerve cells, this toxicity requires relatively long-term exposure, said Madison. The endocannabinoid-nullifying effect the new study revealed is much more transient. A possible physiological role for A-beta in the normal, healthy brain, he said, is that of supplying that organs sophisticated circuits with yet another, beneficial layer of discretion in processing information. Madison thinks this normal, everyday A-beta mechanism run wild may represent an entry point to the progressive and destructive stages of Alzheimers disease.
Exposure to marijuana over minutes or hours is different: more like enhancing everything indiscriminately, so you lose the filtering effect.
Unwanted/adverse Effects Of Cannabis
With the above compiled data and studies over the use and wonders of medical cannabis in various disorders, it becomes equally necessary to look though why this drug got illegal in the first place and what the possible and unwanted side effects that it pose. Major adverse effects of cannabis use were found to be on nervous system and psychiatric health, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system . It is noticed that there is an increased risk of psychiatric disorder on vulnerable population and naïve users post-cannabis use, with anxiety and panic attack in naïve users . Extended use of cannabis was also associated with behavioral changes such as mania, depression, and mood disturbances. Cannabis dependency and addiction is another major challenge . Cannabis use for a long term was also related with cognitive changes in a dose-related manner that also lead to road accidents. It also leads to long-term brain functional and structural changes .
Since the most common way of administration of cannabis is through smoking, it leads to smoking-related adverse effects including airway disease and lung cancer . Smoking itself also poses its cardiovascular impacts such as atherosclerosis. Several reports have described a correlation relationship between cannabis use and AMI, cardiomyopathy, and sudden cardiac death . No drug is safe, same goes for cannabis but that does not mean we should neglect its benefits. More research will lead to fruitful outcomes.
What The Study Found Regarding Benadryl And Dementia
A team led by Shelley Gray, a pharmacist at the University of Washingtons School of Pharmacy, tracked nearly 3,500 men and women ages 65 and older who took part in Adult Changes in Thought , a long-term study conducted by the University of Washington and Group Health, a Seattle healthcare system. They used Group Healths pharmacy records to determine all the drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, that each participant took the 10 years before starting the study. Participants health was tracked for an average of seven years. During that time, 800 of the volunteers developed dementia. When the researchers examined the use of anticholinergic drugs, they found that people who used these drugs were more likely to have developed dementia as those who didnt use them. Moreover, dementia risk increased along with the cumulative dose. Taking an anticholinergic for the equivalent of three years or more was associated with a 54% higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for three months or less.
The University of Washington study is the first to include nonprescription drugs. It is also the first to eliminate the possibility that people were taking a tricyclic antidepressant to alleviate early symptoms of undiagnosed dementia the risk associated with bladder medications was just as high.
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Does Medical Marijuana Help Alzheimers Disease
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced Alzheimers disease understands the difficulties and heartbreak that accompany the condition. Alzheimers is a form of dementia that causes the victim to lose memories, and eventually prevents him or her from carrying on with daily life without assistance.
One of the main factors in Alzheimers progression is the prevalence of beta-amyloid proteins in the patient. Medical marijuana can help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimers and slow the diseases progression. The psychoactive compound in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol , slows beta-amyloid production.
While the Journal of Alzheimers Disease published a preclinical studys findings in support of medical marijuana, researchers continue to emphasize that just because a drug may effectively treat a specific medical condition, it does not mean it is safe for all patients with that condition. The long-term effects of marijuana use are still a major focal point in conversations about the drugs medical applications, as well as its potential for addiction and abuse.
Another study published by the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, seems to corroborate the Journal of Alzheimers Diseases study findings. Researchers at the Salk Institute report that THC reduces beta-amyloid proteins in the brain. Beta-amyloid proteins cause an inflammatory response in brain nerve cells, leading to eventual cell death.
The Relationship Between Medical Cannabis And Alzheimers Disease
The efficacy of medical marijuana has been a major topic of discussion in the medical community and the American public for years. Though its been commonly prescribed for issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma and nausea from chemotherapy, recent studies have found that it can also ease some of the symptoms of conditions like Alzheimers. Alzheimers patients and their families should understand the potential value medical marijuana has for people with this condition.
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Treating And Preventing Dementia
The jury is still out on whether cannabis or its by-products could be used to treat dementia. A lack of strong research studies mean that dubious and anecdotal reports have taken the place of hard evidence.
No studies or trials have looked into the effects of cannabis or its components on the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease in people.
Whilst the studies in the laboratory show some promise, we need to understand the wider effects that these components have before we can know whether they have any effect – positive or negative – on the development of Alzheimer’s in people.
There Is Some Evidence That Heavy Long
It is also worth noting that many of these studies have involved a particular component of cannabis in isolation. Even if one component is found to influence dementia risk, it doesn’t necessarily mean that taking cannabis would have the same effect.
There is also a large amount of variation in the levels of THC and CBD oil in different strains of the plant so the effects could depend on the type of cannabis used.
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Low Doses Of Marijuana Compound Could Slow Or Stop Progression Of Alzheimer’s
Huff/Post 50 Editor, The Huffington Post
Marijuana is touted for its medical uses, lessening pain, nausea, and other uncomfortable side effects of conditions like glaucoma, nerve pain, and cancer. Now researchers say, a chemical found in the hotly debated drug could slow or altogether stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Findings of a preclinical study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggest very small doses of THC, a chemical found in marijuana, slow down the production of thebeta-amyloid protein, which builds up to create plaques in the brain, an accumulation of which is a known hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation,” lead author Chuanhai Cao, of the University of South Florida’s Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute said in a release.
Similar studies have also pointed out the effectiveness of THC in fighting the formation of harmful brain plaques. Researchers in a 2006 study conducted by the Scripps Institute found that THC blocked the aggregation of plaques completely, even better than the best known inhibitors, found in existing Alzheimer’s drugs.
Researchers called THC “natural and relatively safe,” emphasizing that in very low doses, the benefits of the compound outweigh any potential harm.
Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Alzheimers
Cannabis has been surprisingly linked to improved cognitive function, with specific compounds in the plant having anti-inflammatory properties which may aide in reducing the progression of Alzheimers and treating some of the symptoms.
While the exact cause of Alzheimers is unknown, there are several suspected culprits that may play a part in the development and progression of the disease. One of these possible antagonists is the accumulation of amyloid-plaques in the brain, sticky deposits full of a protein called beta-amyloid that collect on the outside of cells.
Research has shown that there is consistent over accumulation of beta-amyloid within nerve cells in patients suffering from Alzheimers and dementia.
High levels of beta-amyloid is associated with cellular inflammation and higher rates of cellular death.
While cellular death is normal in the development of the central nervous system or in small amounts of cells over long periods of time, it is not normal in the brain, and especially not normal in the case of rapid or advanced cellular death such as seen with Alzheimers.
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What Is Alzheimers Disease
Despite the fact that Alzheimers is primarily associated with older adults, there is also the potential for early-onset Alzheimers in people younger than 65.
Alzheimers is a progressive disease, so the symptoms may begin slowly and may be difficult to identify, but they get worse with time. Alzheimers starts out as mild memory loss, and over time as a person progresses through the later stages of Alzheimers it can become difficult for them to communicate and function. Its also the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
Currently, there are no approved cures for Alzheimers, but there are options to treat the symptoms and research is ongoing.
So, does marijuana cause Alzheimers? This and other topics related to marijuana and Alzheimers are detailed below.
Common Anticholinergic Drugs Like Benadryl Linked To Increased Dementia Risk
- By Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
One long-ago summer, I joined the legion of teens helping harvest our valleys peach crop in western Colorado. My job was to select the best peaches from a bin, wrap each one in tissue, and pack it into a shipping crate. The peach fuzz that coated every surface of the packing shed made my nose stream and my eyelids swell. When I came home after my first day on the job, my mother was so alarmed she called the family doctor. Soon the druggist was at the door with a vial of Benadryl tablets. The next morning I was back to normal and back on the job. Weeks later, when I collected my pay , I thanked Benadryl.
Today, Im thankful my need for that drug lasted only a few weeks. In a report published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers offers compelling evidence of a link between long-term use of anticholinergic medications like Benadryl and dementia.
Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine. This substance transmits messages in the nervous system. In the brain, acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory. In the rest of the body, it stimulates muscle contractions. Anticholinergic drugs include some antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, medications to control overactive bladder, and drugs to relieve the symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
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