THC is a major active component in the marijuana plant and has been used clinically for many years in pain management and appetite modulation. It is considered as one of the most important potential treatment drugs against neurological diseases, and there is an urgent need for therapeutic drugs for these diseases.
Our discoveries related to these compounds potential in treating Alzheimer's has been featured by CNN in April 20, 2015 by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. In the reported publication, we have concluded that extremely low doses of THC in vitro has multiple functions that can address most of the pathological factors associated with AD, including lowering Aβ production, inhibiting Aβ aggregation, reducing protein phosphorylation, and enhancing mitochondrial function without inducing any psychological activation.
This is a promising result, though we still need to provide the evidence of the potency of THC and study the endocannabinoid system as a potential treatment and prophylactic agent to AD. It is our hope that at the end of this series of projects, we will find a possible safe and effective long-term treatment for AD patients and a potential method to inhibit or delay the onset of AD. It will allow this naturally existing endocannabinoid system and potent compounds to be used clinically, immediately, to benefit millions of AD patients.
The Therapeutic Potential of THC and CBD
As shown in the figure, the endocannabinoid system plays a role in a myriad of different areas and functions of the brain, from hunger to movement to pain.
What our research focus is on, is the function of THC at the Cerebral Cortex and Hippocampus in the brain of an Alzheimer's patient and its function at the Basal Ganglia and Cerebellum in Parkinson's patients. These areas are majorly affected in memory and learning (in AD patients) and movement (in PD patients).
We have seen that THC and CBD compounds can interact with amyloid beta in cell culture and mice related to Alzheimer's, and we are working to see if these compounds can also interact with alpha synuclein in cell cultures related to Parkinson's.
Learn More About the Endocannabinoid System:
Our Publications Related to DCs and DC Vaccines
Apr 2014 The potential therapeutic effects of THC on Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis.