New Study: Marijuana Slows Down Alzheimer's Disease

September 13th 2014

Lindsay Haskell

With medicinal marijuana legalized in 23 states so far and recreational marijuana legalized in two states, the benefits of marijuana use are becoming more apparent. A new preclinical study by the University of South Florida reveals that even extremely low levels of THC - the active ingredient in marijuana - slow down or prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that the blocking of endocannabinoids - chemicals in the brain that activate the same receptors as THC does - by beta-amyloid protein pieces may be responsible for the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Thus, by administering low doses of THC, University of South Florida's neuroscientists found that the beta-amyloid production was curbed, halting the build up of plaque in the brain.

Marijuana Use Meme

These findings prove significant for the five million Americans currently living with Alzheimer's disease. In fact, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, the American Academy of Neurology believes that this is an under-estimation and that Alzheimer's is closer to being the third leading cause of death in America. The disease itself proves to also be a financial burden for the U.S. government, costing $100 billion annually and predicted to cost over $20 trillion from 2010 to 2050.

Many of you may be wondering: how does this affect me? Well, as it turns out, it affects the younger generations in a huge way. According to the Alzheimer's Association, by 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease is predicted to reach 7.1 million and by 2050, that number will nearly double, reaching 13.8 million. Thus, marijuana could prove to be an important element in halting these growing statistics.