Marijuana may assist in cutting down the risk of Alzheimer's disease by reducing inflammation in the brain, U.S. researchers said in a recent communiqué. The finding holds a clue as to the why people who regularly smoked marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s are at a lesser chance of developing Alzheimer's disease, as compared to others of their age.
Investigation on rodents showed that an ingredient in marijuana had the qualities of ceasing loss of brain cells, which is a characteristic feature in brain inflammation. Further, the compound assisted in improving the animals' memories.
The team of researchers analyzed the drug called WIN-55212-2, known to influence receptors, when brains of rats were subjected to a compound that imitates the swelling found in patients suffering Alzheimer's. These rats were given a treatment of WIN daily for a period of three weeks. The rats were subject to the rodent memory and learning test, by making them swim in a water maze.
The study found that the older rats did not do a good job of making their way in the maze, akin to the brain process of an elderly human groping about in an unfamiliar terrain. But the rats which were administered WIN certainly fared better on the test.
The researchers confirm that this is not a blanket approval to suggest people smoke marijuana. While the appropriate timing to fight brain inflammation is still unclear, researchers need to study these compounds in greater detail. Nonetheless, this study is indeed good news.