Role of Endocannabinoids in Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Disease and the role of endocannabinoids

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By: CBD Oil Connection

Niamh Mc Guinness, PhD candidate Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, is conducting research on the role the endocannabinoids system on Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a chronic progressive disease characterized by the widespread loss of cells in the brain called neurons. Neurons in the brain responsible for memory are especially affected, which explains the degenerative properties of the disease. Death of these neurons is thought to be caused by the buildup of small toxic aggregates of a protein called Amyloid Beta, called plaques. These plaques gather around neurons and cause them to die. The deposits of these plaques cause a breakdown in the normal function of the cell membrane causing it to die.

This is where the endocannabinoid system comes in. A commonly known cannabinoid is the chemical known as THC, found in marijuana. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. The brain also produces its own cannabinoids known as Endocannabinoids, which also acts on the receptors. It has been shown that these chemicals can prevent the breakdown of the cells which leads to Alzheimer’s. Currently, she is analyzing brain tissue that is affected by Alzheimer’s and testing it with different cannabinoids. They are trying figure out when and how the cannabinoids affect the cell, preventing Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s affect 1/20 people over 65, and ⅕ people over the age of 80. By 2050 the worldwide prevalence of people affected by Alzheimer’s will reach 100 million.

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