The active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, may help prevent the formation of deposits in the brain which are linked to Alzheimer's. Scientists at Scripps Research Institute concluded that THC does a better job than commercial drugs at preventing the enzyme acetylcholinesterase from forming plaques that occur with Alzheimer's. While controversial, marijuana has a number of medical uses, including relieving glaucoma and pain along with the side effects of therapies for cancer and AIDS. The researchers at Scripps say that their new work in the field may help point the way to new therapies. There have been a number of studies, including one this week, that indicate that existing therapies for Alzheimer's are all but useless.
- here's the report on the study from the San Diego Union-Tribune