By: Michael James Kugel
The above documentary begins with a son videoing his mother who does not recognize her home or even her son. It begins with her son asking his mother, “you don’t know you’re related to me?”. His mother replies with, “Yeah. I want to go home”. “We are home, ma.” Unfortunately, this is an indication that Alzheimer’s disease has began to take away this woman’s memories.
Alzheimer’s disease is a condition with the symptoms of dementia; not all dementia is Alzheimer’s. Some dementia is actually temporary. Alzheimer’s is only common amongst those past age 50 whilst Dementia includes a loss of cognitive abilities like memory, speech, and motor skills.
There two primary features of Alzheimer’s Disease: amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Brain signals, like those described above, must pass a small space between each cell. In brains inflicted with Alzheimer’s, this space becomes clogged, causing neuro communication to stop. These clogs are made of amyloid beta protein. The formation of protein clusters are called plaques.
The signals must also cross the long thin part of the cell. In Alzheimer’s patients, this long thin part of the cell is destroyed due to a change in tau protein. The protein causes the cell to then shrivel and die, leaving behind neurofibrillary tangles.
There are no known remedies for Alzheimer’s disease. However, cannabis may be a novel solution to treating Alzheimer’s. Cannabinoids are currently at the forefront of Alzheimer’s research. This is because cannabinoids have the possibility to lessen plaque formation within the brain.
Phytocannabinoids are the active compounds from the cannabis plant. The most known cannabinoids in medicine are Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Despite the long-held belief that marijuana kills brain cells, it has actually been shown to induce and help activate the adult hippocampal neurogenesis which produces new brain cells.
CBD had been found effective in treating Alzheimer’s in mice. It was concluded thereafter, that CBD should be clinically tested on humans. Animal-based preclinical studies do not offer enough assurance, as not all drugs impact species in the same manner.
Shown in a documented peer reviewed journal, marijuana actually has stimulating effects on the brain. From their data, there could be a possible connection between medical cannabis and reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. If patients are diagnosed early enough and plaque formation is slowed or halted (with cannabis), there is a potential “to prevent debilitating and lethal forms of Alzheimer’s.
The video ends with the woman’s son saying, “It’s just such a difference from half an hour ago. You were pacing back and forth, not believing this was your house.” The mother, having just taken medical cannabis looks stunned. “A half an hour ago?” she asks puzzled. “Yes ma’am” says her son, with a sound of happiness in his voice. He gets to once more speak to the woman who raised him while she is in sound mind.