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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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:38AM (#26621833)
    Marijuana is memory enhancing? What?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 )

      Marijuana is memory enhancing? What?

      No it's just that in the rat's the puff they are not able to measure any memory loss with aging because they already lost it.

      There's a huge difference between "memory" and "cognative skill". To operate at a rat, requires a lot of different skills. Huge chunks of their brain are devoted to 0) fleaing predators 1) not eating poison 2) navigating and memorizing paths by smell and touch, not sight or time.

      it's entirely plausible that different drugs could shift the relative effort in these areas and improve t

      • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by truckaxle ( 883149 )

        I would dispute

        1) Not eating poison.

        As that is a recent entry into their list of survival and propagation concerns. Then I would replace it with

        1) Obsession with sex

        Now the list looks a lot closer to what the human brain is concerned with.

    • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @06:14PM (#26629811) Journal

      This is a misnomer anyway. The old studies showing that marijuana causes memory loss were refuted long ago. In fact, almost all of the supposed negative effects of marijuana use were reported by one biased research team and their work can generally be dismissed outright.

      There is a short term memory impairment caused by consistent regular high dose usage but it returns in an extremely short period of time after discontinuing marijuana use. The memory effects of years of marijuana use are reversed after as little as a month of discontinuing use.

      The real negative side effects of marijuana use are 'a false sense of well being' *scratches head over that being considered negative*, the aggravation of already existing heart conditions, and the ability to cause and/or exacerbate lung conditions/cancer. The last is actually caused by the inhalation of smoke and can be avoided by using other means of ingestion.

      Whole marijuana, like any other herb, will NEVER be considered a legal treatment for any condition by the AMA or FDA for Alzheimer's or anything else. The medical profession as a whole does not recommend natural supplements and herbs, they prefer prescription medications that are composed of purified and isolated chemicals.

      The best that can be hoped is that prohibition and prosecution will be stopped against those using, posessing, distributing, and selling what is a fairly harmless herbal supplement. Addiction rates and known side effects (and liklihood of incidence) pale in comparison to over the counter medications like ephedrine, cough syrup, and asprin; not to mention prescription medications.

  • Rational (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) * on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:38AM (#26621851) Homepage Journal

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

    • Re:Rational (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:41AM (#26621895) 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.
      • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

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

      It helps keep rich people rich.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Ask your local law enforcement and prison guard unions. They have pleanty.
    • Carcinogneic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by turgid ( 580780 )

      Cannabis/Marijuana is carcinogenic, and about four times as carcinogenic as tobacco.

      They say that if tobacco were "discovered" today it would be outlawed straight away.

      Alcohol has serious long-term health effects too, but in the short term it also leads to intoxication and injury and death by accidents. Not just road accidents either. That would be banned as well.

      Really, the banning of all drugs is absurd. In an ideal world, adults would be responsible for their own actions and deemed wise enough to deci

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Cannabis/Marijuana is carcinogenic, and about four times as carcinogenic as tobacco.

        No it is not: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729.html [washingtonpost.com]

        What you are repeating is a clever bit of propaganda: They measured the difference between unfiltered joints and filtered cigarettes, and instead of concluding "filtering reduces carcinogens by a factor if 4", they declared "cannabis causes cancer".
        There are several things wrong with this conclusion, the first of which being that the sought-after active ingredients of cannabis, THC, are cancer-suppressants, whi

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by falconwolf ( 725481 )

      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 newsp

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:39AM (#26621871) Journal
    Now they'll be able to remember how to get to the cheese in that maze again! Maybe they should replace the cheese with Cheetos though?
  • by Clever7Devil ( 985356 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:44AM (#26621953)
    "Mommy, I'm really worried about grandma. She couldn't remember my name this morning. Is she sick?" "It's fine honey, that's not alzheimers, grandma is straight buzzin from her medicinal doobie."
  • by Remus Shepherd ( 32833 ) <remus@panix.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:46AM (#26621983) Homepage

    I wonder which will be first to market -- marijuana spiked coffee, or coffee-flavored marijuana?

  • 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).
  • The Dude (Score:5, Funny)

    by rirugrat ( 255768 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:07AM (#26622381)

    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

  • Rats aren't people (Score:4, Insightful)

    by indytx ( 825419 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:50AM (#26623149)
    So, you can swap possible long-term memory loss for probable short-term memory loss. I'll wait for the large, double-blind study after they've isolated what exactly in the marijuana, if anything, reduces the risk of Alzheimer's. Meanwhile, there have been recent reports that coffee and red wine could reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. Seems like a safer, not to mention legal, alternative to experimenting on yourself by breathing smoke. Most doctors will agree that any smoking is harmful, and before you say that it can be eaten or steeped like tea, carcinogens can still cause cancer even if not smoked.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:52AM (#26623185)

    Marijuana doesn't prevent Alzheimer's so much as give you little, reversible doses of it with every joint. So when the Big A comes along and tries to eat your brain, your brain just goes, "Oh, this again. Glad I remembered to pick up the Cheese Doodles".

    It's a training thing.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:41PM (#26624067)
    they joke about this in the auto insurance ads. However, we could start seeing the *real* effects of mj use, if there are any.
  • by Palshife ( 60519 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:47PM (#26624189) Homepage

    Is the rosesforalgermon some subtle joke having to do with Alzheimer's disease preventing them remembering that it's actually called 'Flowers for Algernon?' If so, brilliant.

    Something tells me it wasn't though ;)

  • by wfstanle ( 1188751 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:47PM (#26624191)

    The problem with the current legal status of marijuana it that legitimate medical research is hampered. Sure, there is some medical research happening but nowhere as much as there could be. There are many components of marijuana that are not involved with getting you high and these components may have medical benefits. The problem is that we just don't know about them because of all the hysteria generated by "Reefer Madness". We need a calm and rational investigation about all the components of marijuana.

  • 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.
  • Off Schedule I (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xelios ( 822510 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @01:55PM (#26625493)
    Marijuana, Schedule I:
    Findings required (from Controlled Substances Act):

    (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.

    None of these conditions are met for marijuana, so why isn't its Schedule I classification being challenged in court?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by justinlee37 ( 993373 )
      (A) is true. Not that I am in favor of hand-holding nanny-state government, mind you. Drug prohibition stifles the economy.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein