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Medicine Biotech Science

Marijuana Could Prevent Alzheimer's, New Study 807

Chickan writes "'A puff a day might keep Alzheimer's away, according to marijuana research by professor Gary Wenk and associate professor Yannic Marchalant of the Ohio State Department of Psychology. Wenk's studies show that a low dosage in the morning of a certain canavanoid, a component in marijuana, reversed memory loss in older rats' brains. In his study, an experimental group of old rats received a dosage, and a control group of rats did not. The old rats that received the drugs performed better on memory tests, and the drug slowed and prevented brain cell death.' My fine university's dollars at work!" Maybe it works even better in combination with brain-preserving sips of coffee.
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Marijuana Could Prevent Alzheimer's, New Study

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  • by Ohio Calvinist ( 895750 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:53AM (#26622085)
    The full text of the research paper is available at-- http://faculty.psy.ohio-state.edu/marchalant/pdf/marchalantetalneurobiolaging2008.pdf [ohio-state.edu] on the co-author's Departmental website. Might be helpful since TFA is an article out of the University's student newspaper which tends to be a little light on details (speaking as an alumni).
  • Re:Rational (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:56AM (#26622121) Homepage Journal

    Side effects. Like lung damage. Sure, you can point to studies which say there is LESS damage than tobacco. But those take in to account that pot spokers smoke less often. It's illegal and not cheap.

    Make it freely available, usage will soar and the damage WILL be greater than tobacco.

    Just sayin'. There ARE side effects.

  • Re:Rational (Score:1, Informative)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:00AM (#26622225) Homepage

    Wow that's a seriously extraordinary claim, do you have any data whatsoever ?

  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Informative)

    by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:06AM (#26622363)

    Actually, if you have THC in your blood then chances are you're stoned, most of the time you can't find THC in the bloodstream after 24 hours or so. Urine and hair tests OTOH can be used to detect use several weeks after the fact but if you smoked your first joint in six months about ten minutes ago and the police grab you there's a pretty big chance it won't show up in a urine test...

    This is something used by marijuana users btw, if they get busted right after smoking they go for the urine test, if they get busted some other time they demand a blood test because it's more expensive, has to be done by a doctor/nurse and won't show anything if they haven't smoked in the last couple of days.


  • Not before bed (Score:2, Informative)

    by imp7 ( 714746 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:15AM (#26622545)
    Just don't smoke before bed so you get all of your REM sleep. Best time is to smoke is after the dishes are done.
  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by dragonsomnolent ( 978815 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:15AM (#26622549) Homepage

    I will merely point out that according to the FDA rules for a schedule 1 narcotic, something has to meed all of the following requirements:

            (A) The drug or other substance has high potential for abuse.
            (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
            (C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

        Does Pot have a medical use: Yup, check out marinol (the THC pill). Bang, struck from schedule 1 right there. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment for HIV and cancer patients. Not to mention that it could be prescribed off label for a multitude of things (low doses for anxiety, insomnia, etc.) I have in the past smoked and it is a neuro-seditive. Side effects? Yeah, smoke too much, you get paranoid, short term memory lapses, etc. Same with alchohol though, in addition, you can die from alchohol poisoning (and yes it would be possible to OD on THC, but I don't think anyone could stay concious long enough to smoke that much, you'd have to have a high dose IV drip of it or something).
        The simple fact of the matter here though is the FDA keeps it illegal not for medical reasons, but political ones. No one wants to be the one who gets smeared for "caving to the drug cartels", despite the fact that the best way to take them out is to take away thier products and sevices. In addition, the DuPont family paid a lot of money back in the day to keep people using wood pulp for paper so they could keep selling thier chemicals. For a good read, check out "Ain't Nobody's Business if I Do" by Peter McWilliams. Available for online reading.

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by tsalmark ( 1265778 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:15AM (#26622553) Homepage
    It is often assumed that, in the US at least, marijuana was made illegal to protect alcohol profits. here is one link: http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2003/12/22/whyIsMarijuanaIllegal.html [salon.com]
  • Re:Rational (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pictish Prince ( 988570 ) <wenzbauer@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:23AM (#26622709) Journal

    I have yet to hear/see a rational reason why marijuana is still illegal.

    There is a perfectly rational reason: Greed.

    Granted, a confluence of interests [salon.com] was responsible for the prohibition of cannabis, but I submit the primary impetus came from Hearst [wikipedia.org], who, as the article linked above mentions, had "invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn't want to see the development of hemp paper in competition."

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:26AM (#26622751)
    No offense, but wtf are you talking about? Safer? The LD50 of THC is somewhere in the range of 25 POUNDS of crystalline reagent grade product. Its physically impossible to overdose on marijuana - you simple can't fit 25 pounds in your bloodstream. No other pain killer or appetite stimulant has that sort of LD50. It is about as safe as you can get - even safer than sugar.
  • Re:Rational (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:41AM (#26622979)

    1) Only if you smoke it

    2) Only if you smoke it

    3) Only if you smoke it, and if you believe some research above other papers

    4) Not proven

    5) You just said there's no evidence it causes any psychological problems for healthy people. This is bull.

    6) Which orifice did you pull this assertion from?

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by conureman ( 748753 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:04PM (#26623437)

    "Because the burden of proof is on those that believe that it's harmless rather than those that don't believe it to be safe. Which is just the way that it should be."
    This is why greasy fast food will never be legal. Which is just the way that it should be.

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by p00dl3 ( 1462683 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:07PM (#26623495)
    Cannabis was renamed by white US politicians as "marijuana" to associate it with itinerant Mexican laborers. It was claimed to cause madness and violence in the "daker races". It was claimed that it caused "our" white women to seek relations with "negroes". Criminalizing it was a way to control the Mexicans and the blacks. Thelonius Monk was banned from playing New York clubs because he had a "marijuana" conviction and had his club card pulled.
  • Re:Carcinogneic (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:11PM (#26623577)

    [citation needed]

    Last study I read about it found the exact opposite: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729_pf.html

  • Re:Rational (Score:4, Informative)

    by xappax ( 876447 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:12PM (#26623587)
    So far the only risk you've identified is lung damage. Please explain how eating marijuana can cause this.
  • by conureman ( 748753 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:19PM (#26623719)

    Dr. Tod Mikuriya told me that he had done some research for the government (during the Carter years), but when his findings indicated probable therapeutic benefit and lack of harm, the report was suppressed.

  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Informative)

    by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:51PM (#26624247)

    You want me to quote my own post to prove I wrote what was mis-replied to?

    Residual THC non-psychoactive metabolites are stored in fat and get released into the urine slowly. While the (psychoactive) d9-THC is in your bloodstream you are under influence of it, later the aforementioned metabolites get stored in fat.

    This is all freely available information.


  • Re:Rational (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:04PM (#26624487)
    What about when I eat it in a brownie.

    What of your negative side effects now?

    Seriously people need to stop being sheep.

    Cannabis has been a source of nutrition, fiber, and medicine for THOUSANDS of years. Its use pre-dates modern judeo-christian religion.

    Cannabis is 70% cellulose, grows annually in poor soils. Is naturally pest and disease resistant and requires no harmful caustic chemicals to process.

    That cellulose can then be used to make fuel, paper, even plastics. The fibers can be made into composite wood materials that are lighter and stronger than similar wood products.

    Cannabis has also been known to have neuro-protective qualities.

    Lets look at the "OMG IT'S DANGEROUS" argument. First off, or government perpetuates a view that Cannabis is as dangerous as crystal meth and heroin. Where's my faces of cannabis poster? The fact is that this policy is presenting the wrong message to our youth. As anyone who has ever gotten high can attest, its similar to being drunk.

    As far as the "Just as dangerous as tobacco" argument goes. Cannabis has natural expectorant qualities and helps to remove the little tar that is created through smoking. Vaporization reduces the amount of tar further. Lets also not forget that there are chemicals that are added to cigarettes to make them more addictive. With marijuana its all about how its grown and most of the nastiest chemicals found in cigarettes will never be found in marijuana.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:06PM (#26624527)

    More likely is that it stimulates retrograde signaling [nih.gov] pathways, which are implicated in the formation and maintenance of long-term memories.

    This is because the chemical receptors of neurons implicated with this process are stimulated by "endo-cannabinoids", or, molecules created by the brain which are chemically similar to THC found in cannabis. Ingesting THC (in one form or another...) will stimulate these receptors, which then triggers neurons to fire.

    When you stop to consider that an Alzheimer's afflicted brain has major damage going on [alzheimer.ca], and then also consider the implications of neuroplasticity [wikipedia.org] along with this induced retrograde signal propagation, it could be seen that by stimulating neurons that are failing or near inoperable, their information could be transferred to healthier tissues, and retained, rather than simply "lost."

    It's a bit like running FSCK on your brain, in an attempt to recover data from bad sectors.

  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:08PM (#26624549) Journal

    The whole plant will NEVER be legalized because the side effects are so severe that there will never be a suitable time to use it.

    And when is there a suitable time to use tobacco? Alcohol? How about sugar?

    Consider, also, that hemp can be used for things other than smoking.

    And while we're at it, coca does not have to be made into cocaine. It also makes a traditional tea, a mild, not particularly addictive stimulant, which is very helpful with altitude sickness.

    On the other hand, orange juice can be used as an ingredient for acid -- or napalm.

    I do not buy the argument that just because something can be abused, it should be banned. Everything can be abused, and most things do have "legitimate" purposes.

  • Re:Rational (Score:2, Informative)

    by Maestro485 ( 1166937 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:09PM (#26624597)
    So your belief that weed makes people sleepy is your justification for it being outlawed?
  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Informative)

    by MRe_nl ( 306212 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:26PM (#26624933)

    $200 for an ounce.
    1 ounce = 28,3495231 gram.
    EUR 1 = USD 1,3152 (26 januari 20090).
    $ 7,- per gram, or EUR 5.5?
    That's allmost exactly the same price as in the Netherlands, for quality in-door greens.
    Or so I've been told ; ).

    By the way, Dutch Governemental research has shown drivers to be LESS likely to cause accidents or break speeding laws while stoned, compared to sober or drunk drivers.

  • Makes sense actually (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jewfro_Macabbi ( 1000217 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:45PM (#26625315)
    Alzheimer's is plaque build-up on your brain receptors. While smoking weed - THC binds (then later releases) from these very same receptors. Think of weed as brain cleaner.
  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:46PM (#26625349)

    I know a ton of people who use marijuana on a regular basis who also show up for work consistently, do an excellent job, work overtime and then some. So, um, wanna come up with an argument against that?

    I've seen people sling around the same old tired arguments against pot since was 16 and first learning about it and trying it, back in the mid '70s. Problem is, not enough people have tried it. Most people who are against pot talk out of their asses without a lick of experience.

  • by Jewfro_Macabbi ( 1000217 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:50PM (#26625401)
    Yet actual studies have found Marijuana reduces rates of all cancers - including lung cancer. Smokers who also smoke marijuana have a lower rate of lung cancer than smokers who only smoke cigarettes.

    http://current.com/items/89590938/study_finds_marijuana_smokers_have_lower_cancer_risk_than_tobacco_smokers_norml.htm [current.com]

    Care to try again?

    If you want actual human studies - there are 4 grandfathered medical marijuana patients in the United States who have been smoking daily for 25 years now. Not one has shown any adverse health affects.
  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:54PM (#26625473)

    Perhaps, but is growing /good/ pot as easy as throwing seeds out in the backyard? I mean, you can make hooch in the bathtub - you can even make it in prison. But it's not very good. For that matter, you really can grow tomatoes by throwing seeds in your back yard, but how many people do that instead of buying them for $excessive at the supermarket? Growing good, potent cannabis takes time and effort the same way making good wine does, which means there's easily potential for corporate commoditization. Never underestimate people's willingness to buy things they don't need to.

    As someone who has both grown dope and made homemade hooch (and grown tomatoes, for that matter), I can attest that growing good dope is *much* easier than than making good booze. This is not taking into account the risks of legal issues.

    Making truly good beer or wine requires a lot of equipment as well as broad knowledge of fermentatation, sanitation, transferring liquids with minimal oxygen exposure, and a thousand other factors that can produce "off flavors". Distillation is even more intensive to do truly well. You can make bad booze without much trouble, but making something comparable to (or possibly even better than) commercial products takes a serious amount of will.

    The difference between growing good pot and bad pot, all growing conditions being equal, is simply genetics. No, it's not as simple as "throwing seeds in your back yard" but then neither is growing good tomatoes really either. But if you can provide the necessary light and nutrients to bring a female cannabis plant to mature flowering, whether indoors or outdoors, the potency of your product will virtually entirely depend on the plant's genetics. A novice grower can likely grow better pot than he/she can buy with good seed, but the most experienced grower in the world can't make Sour Diesel from ditchweed seeds.

    The real skill in growing pot is how to achieve good yield, and of course, navigating the the minefield of legality. While not *everyone* who smokes bud would grow it if it were legal, people like me who know how to grow it already could grow lots and give it away to friends just like people do now with their tomatoes and zucchini.

    I've always felt that a main reason why such a stupid law persists is that there is simply far more money in it being illegal than could ever be profited or taxed out of it in a legal market.

  • Re:Rational (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @02:17PM (#26625931)

    it was the paper industry, or one man who had just patented the wood pulp to paper process and lobbied to have hemp criminalized therefore eliminating the competition.

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @02:57PM (#26626745) Homepage Journal

    Because America is divided between people who hate risk more than they love freedom and people who hate hippies more than they love freedom.


    The REASONS are DuPont and other companies that hemp was a major threat to, like the cotton industry, paper industry, oils industry, and more. Hemp had a virtual monopoly because it's so damned useful. In fact hemp oil was still the STANDARD recommended machine lubricant during the WWII era.

  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @03:04PM (#26626867) Homepage Journal

    Data? How about the fact that if Hemp was legalized again it would hold a fucking virtual monopoly over the medical, paper, textiles, oils, bioplastics, and health food markets? Do you even have a CLUE as to what marijuana's uses are? We used hhemp primarily for EVERYTHING in the beginning of our country. Lamp oils, clothing, OUR CONSTITUTION WAS WRITTEN ON FUCKING HEMP PAPER, SO WAS OUR MONEY, livestock feed.

    Of course you probably weren't aware that it was a LAW that every landowner grow cannabis on their property, starting in 1619.

    Read Eric Schlosser's 'Reefer Madness' sometime.

    For shame, I thought someone with a UID half of mine would know better. Guess that's not necessarily the case, eh?

  • Re:Rational (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @03:06PM (#26626899)

    Here you go...

    Gee, wonder why the fucking Constitution was written on HEMP paper...

    The US Government has such bullshit hypocrisy on this "War On Drugs": Hemp For Victory [google.com]

    ALL Law is based on Contract Law.

  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @04:18PM (#26628003) Homepage Journal

    Actually, by far THE most potent and efficient method of consumption of marijuana is to make an oil extract from the plant material and use it as a suppository. 90% usage compared to vaporization 20% or so. In fact, most drugs will affect you much harder if you plug them up your ass. Don't you know where the phrase 'drunk off your ass' came from?

  • Re:Rational (Score:3, Informative)

    by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_2000NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @04:42PM (#26628359)

    I have yet to hear/see a rational reason why marijuana is still illegal.

    There is no rational reason marijuana is illegal. The reason it was made illegal, via the Marijuana Tax Act or 1937 [wikipedia.org] was because hemp was a perceived threat to some rich and powerful industrialists. MIT did a study in the '30s on using hemp as a source of pulp for paper making. An acre or hemp [forestcouncil.org] will produce as much paper as one acre of forest. It concluded an acre of hemp would produce much more paper than an acre of forest. So newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who also owned 100s of thousands of California forests he logged to make paper saw hemp as a threat. Plastic was originally made from plant cellulose, which hemp is a good source. Then in 1935 DuPont was awarded a patent on making the plastic Nylon from petroleum. Dupont and DuPont's chief financial backer Andrew Mellon of the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh saw the competition from hemp as a threat.

    Petroleum was also threatened because of alcohol and Diesel. Henry Ford designed and built an auto on his Iron Mountain estate that used hemp he grew on the estate as a source of fuel. The hemp was made into alcohol which the auto used. The interior of the auto also used hemp, the paneling, dashboard, and other parts were made from hemp. Before Ford's use of hemp to make alcohol Rudolph Diesel, the designer of the diesel engine, used vegetable oil as fuel, including oil from peanuts. At the Paris Expo [wordpress.com] when he realized there was not enough peanut oil he used hemp oil as fuel for his engine. This threatened Rockefeller's Standard Oil and Rothschild's Shell Oil.

    There were others who saw hemp as a threat as well. When congress was "debating", which was no debate, the Marijuana Tax Act only one doctor testified about hemp and whether it was a threat. On behalf of the AMA Dr James Woodward [yahoo.com] testified before congress saying "there is no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug". In return the AMA and he were denounced. The fact is though is that medical professionals did use hemp as a drug effectively. However Harry J. Anslinger [wikipedia.org], who was appointed as the first Commissioner of the Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) by his uncle-in-law Andrew Mellon, of the Mellon Bank, who was the Secretary of the US Treasury.

    All together hemp AKA marijuana was not made illegal because it was a dangerous drug but because some powerful people saw it as a threat to their wealth.


  • the first and third presidents of the USA, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their farms. The second president John Adams wanted to use hemp as a cash crop.

    Yeah but they weren't smoking it. Marijuana generally refers to dope not rope

    When hemp was outlawed drug warriors called it marijuana to confuse people. In testimony before congress Dr. James Woodward [yahoo.com] speaking for the AMA [hemp-sisters.com] said the AMA did not know that the "killer weed from Mexico" that was called marijuana was hemp. The AMA only learned what was being talked about was in fact hemp 2 days before the hearing. He further stated "We cannot understand yet, Mr Chairman, why this bill had been prepared in secret for two years without any intimation, even to the profession" that it was being prepared.


All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford