New Research Suggests THC Inhibits Enzyme Function In Brain Reducing Alzheimer’s Risk

adam wong · march 2, 2018

New research from the Salk Institute published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease suggests tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may induce certain enzymes to remove aggregating proteins in the brain. While the mechanistic relationship between intracellular amyloid and neurodegeneration is not well understood, scientists have been able to demonstrate a reduction of beta amyloid expression on in-vitro neuron cells by introducing THC. It has been shown that intracellular beta amyloid initiates a toxic inflammatory response in the neuron, leading to cell death. Beta amyloid induces expression of multiple proinflammatory genes among other death signalling pathways.

The team used neuron cells, engineered to produce high levels of beta amyloid, to demonstrate the response to THC exposure. Cells exposed to THC reduced beta amyloid protein levels and eliminated the inflammatory response, reducing cell mortality rates.

The data strongly suggests that early intervention via the reduction of beta amyloid may reduce disease initiation or progression. It is important to note that the team’s findings were conducted in laboratory models only, and thus THC based therapies would still need to be tested in clinical trials.