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Marijuana could hold the key to treating Alzheimer’s but drug laws stand in the way, say scientists


Cannabinoids can help remove dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells, researchers say

Chemicals found in cannabis could be used to help treat dementia, early studies have shown – but further research into the findings is being stymied by restrictive drug laws, scientists say.

Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can aid the removal of dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells, according to researchers at the Salk Institute, a renowned biomedical research facility in California.

While initial findings published last year raise hopes cannabis compounds could one day form the basis of a new medicine to help treat Alzheimer’s disease, the next steps are proving slow.

Professor David Schubert, who led the study, told CNBC legal issues were a “major roadblock” preventing him and his team from conducting further research into the medicinal properties of marijuana.

“It’s so blatantly obvious that this plant should be studied in greater detail,” he said. “It’s hard enough to get funding without having to worry about legal issues on top of it.”

Professor Schubert said the institute had submitted an application to the US Drug Enforcement Agency for permission to use cannabis extracts for tests on mice in December, but had not yet received a response.

The researchers used a small amount of synthetically-produced cannabinoids in the first study, which was found to stimulate the removal of a toxic plaque associated with dementia in the brain.

Dementia, which mainly affects older people, causes a deterioration in memory, thinking and behaviour and can impede someone’s ability to perform everyday activities.

It affects around 47.5 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and it recently overtook heart disease to become the leading cause of death in England and Wales. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

Source & Full Article: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/marijuana-alzheimers-treatment-dementia-disease-drug-laws-us-salk-institute-research-david-schubert-a7621991.html

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