Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marijuana may help stave off Alzheimer's

Researchers at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla have discovered that use of marijuana may help stave off Alzheimer's more effectively than many prescription drugs. Yet another possible medical use for medical marijuana, and yet the "drug zcar" uses our tax money to campaign in vartious states claiming marijuana has no documented medical uses. What it apparently does is to prevent an enzyme called acetlycholinesterase from accelerating the formation of "Alzheimer's plaques" in the brain. Of course it's only research with mice at this stage.

I'm sad that drug law reform has not been an issue at all in the presidential campaign. Early on various advocates got most of the Democratic candidates, including Obama, to vow not to use the feds to go after patients and dispensaries in states with medical marijuana laws. McCain, of course, took exactly the wrong position on the issue. But it really hasn't come up since. I remember 1992, when Clinton won, going to a Drug Policy Alliance convention and finding most reformers ecstatic, convinced real reform was on the way. But Clinton soon set new records for marijuana arrests. Never underestimate the capacity for hypocrisy of a politician.


Anonymous said...

The notion that getting high can stave off Alzheimer's seems counter-intuitive to me. Most of the stoners I knew back in high school couldn't remember anything. I mean, it's great if that's true, it just seems odd.

Alan Bock said...

I knew there would be comments like this. It's worth considering that high school stoners might not be that good at remembering things whether they're stoned or not. Many patients who use marijuana medically never get high at all, just get pain relief or pressure relief. And many longtime marijuana users function quite well when high. Marijuana is a bronchodilator and a passage dilator in general, meaning it opens passages, which is why it can be effective for glaucoma and muscle relaxation, often a key to pain relief. Keeping passages open may be why it works against "Alzheimer plaques." Of course there have only been tests on mice, so this result might not prove out with humans.
Still, one can certainly understand that to many who have smoked themselves or known people who have, this kind of result might seem counterintuitive.