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Marijuana's Active Ingredient May Slow Alzheimer's

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enkigooroo View Drop Down
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  Quote enkigooroo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Marijuana's Active Ingredient May Slow Alzheimer's
    Posted: 10 October 2006 at 04:39

Marijuana's Active Ingredient May Slow Progression Of Alzheimer's Disease
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061009031544.htm


Scientists are reporting discovery in laboratory experiments of a previously unknown molecular mechanism in which the active ingredient in marijuana may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD).


Scripps Research Institute's Kim D. Janda and colleagues used laboratory experiments to show that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) preserves brain levels of the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Existing medications for AD, including donepezil and tacrine, also relieve AD symptoms by inhibiting the enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine.

THC does so by inhibiting an alternative site on acetylchlolinesterase and at lower concentrations, Janda's group reports in an article in the current (Oct. 2) issue of the ACS bimonthly journal, Molecular Pharmaceutics. Their experiments show that THC also prevents formation of the amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of AD and its damage to the brain.

"Our results provide a mechanism whereby the THC molecule can directly impact Alzheimer's disease pathology," they state. They also note that THC may provide a "drug lead" -- a model for developing new and more effective medications with more targeted effects on AD.

The researchers explain that such compounds "may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease, augmenting acetylcholine levels by preventing neurotransmitter degradation and reeducating amyloid beta aggregation, thereby simultaneously treating both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer's disease."

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  Quote enkigooroo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2006 at 04:20

Hope for cannabis-based drug for Alzheimer's
18:40 18 October 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Roxanne Khamsi

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10330-hope-for-cannabisbased-drug-for-alzheimers.html




A compound derived from marijuana might one day help fight the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests.

Researchers have shown that a synthetic drug similar to cannabis can help older rats perform better on a spatial memory task.

Over a period of three weeks, Gary Wenk at Ohio State University in Columbus, US, and colleagues injected the brains of young and old rats with an inflammatory molecule that created an immune response in the animals’ brains which mimics that seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

During the same period the researchers also injected some of the rats with a synthetic drug similar to cannabis, called WIN-55212-2, which stimulates the brain receptors that normally respond to cannabis compounds.

Water maze
The team then tested the rats by having the animals navigate through a water maze. Because rodents dislike water they will do their best to find the dry platform hidden in the maze.

"The maze task is sensitive to memory impairment and also to ageing," Wenk says. "Old rats tend to be pretty bad at navigating the maze. It's kind of like an elderly person trying to find his way around a house that he's not familiar with.” Researchers gave the animals three days to learn the maze and then timed them on the fourth day.

The rats that received WIN-55212-2 in both age groups found the platform faster than their control counterparts. However, the difference between the treated and untreated animals’ performance was greatest among the older rats. The brains of rats receiving the synthetic drug also showed less sign of inflammation.

The results are impressive particularly because of the low dose of drug used in the experiemnt, comments Ken Mackie at the University of Washington in Seattle, US, who was not involved in the study.

"They gave them a relatively low dose, even for a rat." Mackie says that this aspect of the study makes the prospect of developing a similar treatment for humans with Alzheimer's disease "more promising."

Wenk cautions, however, that WIN-55212-2 still causes psychoactive effects similar to cannabis, and as such is not yet a candidate for human use. Researchers are currently trying to develop a similar drug that could control inflammation in the brain without a concomitant high.

Wenk presented the findings today at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, US



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Ganja View Drop Down
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  Quote Ganja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2006 at 10:53
Thanks for always adding interesting cannabis articles to the site, enkigooroo. The scientific ones are very handy, and even the occasional one that seems more agenda-driven an speculative (I'm looking at YOU, Karolinska institute) give us (me) something to rail against.
Nice one!
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