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Study: Blocking Brain's 'Internal Marijuana' May Trigger Early Alzheimer's


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A 2014 study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids -- the body's natural substances that are internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana -- in the early development of Alzheimer's disease.

A substance called A-beta is strongly suspected to play a major role in the development of Alzheimer's, since it's the chief constituent of the clumps found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients -- may, in the early stages of the disease, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, according to the study, reports Bruce Goldman at Stanford University.

The researchers at Stanford are now working on the molecular details of how and where the interference with endocannabinoid receptors occurs. Knowing that could help develop new drugs to delay the effects upon learning ability and memory that occur with Alzheimer's.

The study, published in Neuron, analyzed A-beta's effects on the hippocampus, a region of the midbrain which in all mammals serves as a combination GPS system and memory-filing assistant, along with other duties.

New Study: Marijuana Doesn't Cause Alterations In Brain Structure


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana use doesn't cause alterations in brain structure, according to a new study which fails to support past claims about cannabis and brain health.

The clinical data were published this week in JAMA Psychiatry, reports Paul Armentano at NORML.

Scientists looked at the effect of marijuana exposure on brain volume in the hippocampus, the amygdala, the ventral striatum, and the orbitofrontal cortex in groups of exposed and unexposed pairs of siblings. Researchers reported that all the volumetric differences identified "were within the range of normal variation," and that they were attributable to "shared genetic factors," not marijuana use.

"We found no evidence for the causal influence of cannabis exposure on amygdala volume," the authors concluded.

"We found that while cannabis users had lower amygdala volumes than nonusers, that difference appears to be linked to other predisposing factors," said senior author Arpana Agrawal, an associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, reports Dennis Thompson at HealthDay

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