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Promising Marijuana Research to Treat Dementia Blocked by US Regulations

Mar 30, 2017 03:58 AM EDT
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The potential of marijuana and other cannabis products to help treat dementia and other disorders have appeared time and time again in various researches. However, further research to test marijuana's medicinal wonders have been continuously blocked by the law.

Experts, including David Schubert, told CNBC that legal issues are hindering his team from conducting more research in the medicinal properties of marijuana.

This is an important topic for a lot of practitioners in the scientific field as numerous studies have indicated the potential of cannabis to help treat dementia and other ailments.

Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have potential to help remove proteins from brain cells that can cause dementia, according to researchers at the Salk Institute in California.

Schubert explained that they have submitted an application to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (USDA) for permission to use cannabis extracts for tests on mice since December 2016 but has not received a response yet.

Ironically, Salk Institute is based near San Diego, California, where marijuana was made legal in November. Their most recent research on cannabis proved that the compound does have components that may remove the plaques associated to Alzheimer's.

However, the institution receives funds from the US Government. Therefore, it's not allowed to use cannabis in experiments without authorization. Applications may take six months to be approved, which is a long lag time for the study.

For the initial study regarding marijuana's effect on dementia, the researchers used a small amount of synthentically produced cannabinoids. It was then sent to stimulate the removal of a toxic plaque that is associated with dementia.

A protein called amyloid beta creates a harmful plaque in the brains of dementia victims that can destroy nerve cells.

Dementia is a relevant topic when it comes to neurological diseases as it can impede someone's ability to do everyday tasks. Dementia affects 47.5 million people around the globe.

The US Alzheimer's Association said marijuana is in fact a legitimate area of research when it comes to developing potential treatments for the disease. However, some experts remain skeptical because, after all, its overall effects in humans are still not tested.

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