Sunday, August 23, 2009

Good News : New study: Smoke Pot to keep Alzheimer’s Away!?

A marijuana puff a day keeps Alzheimer’s away! A new research has found out that marijuana may actually fight memory loss if taken in small doses amounting to just one puff a day. Researchers have tested a chemical compound on rats and found out that the chemical reduces inflammation in the brain and promotes the growth of new brain cells.

The chemical compound is similar to THC, the main psychoactive substance found in marijuana. Elderly rats that were given the compound performed better on learning and memory tasks. This raises an interesting question. “Could people smoke marijuana to prevent Alzheimer’s disease if the disease is in their family?” Researcher Gary Wenk said, “We’re not saying that, but it might actually work.”

This THC mimicking drug, called WIN-55212-2, was also injected into young rats with inflammation in their brains. The drug reduced inflammation. In another part of the study, WIN was injected in to older rats that were then put into a swimming tank with hidden resting spots. It was observed that the medicated rats were better able to find and remember the hidden spots.

A dissection of the rat brains by researchers revealed that the drug not only reduced inflammation in the brain but it also promoted the growth of new neurons. These results were presented at a meeting of Society of Neuroscience last week. Although the research is far from human trials, it was suggested by researchers to use a legal drug similar to WIN to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, which causes chronic inflammation in the brain.

The new synthetic drug appears o activate three types of neuro-receptors that are also targeted in the similar manner by THC. However, there are some clear differences between WIN and marijuana. Most notable one is that WIN lacks other ingredients that are present in marijuana due to which it does not produce the same high.

On the differentiation standpoint, psychologist Yannick Marchalant pointed out; “While marijuana might also promote the growth of new brain cells, it doesn’t have WIN’s ability to block another brain receptor that appears to cause inflammation, a key difference between the two compounds.”

Countering the new research study, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said that heavy use of marijuana impairs short-term memory recall and quickens the age-related memory loss. Their argument is that, “Everyone is aware that smoking too much marijuana impairs memory.” Defending their research, Marchalant said, “Our work stays on the safe side – doses that we know are not going to impair memory, but improved it.”

He further explained that the drug will not be effective on young people whose brains are still forming, or on the old, who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For them it is too late as those diagnosed with the disease have already lost neurons. It could however, be used as a preventive strategy in the early years.

So, are you ready to roll another one to smoke away Alzheimer’s disease!?

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