Mom, Memory and .... Marijuana ?
January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, so the media has been awash with Alzheimers news and views, facts and figures (including that 75% of those afflicted with the disease are women…)…You may have heard a lot about Alzheimers this month… but you may not have heard THIS.
Contrary to the image of the forgetful stoner…it turns out that “Marijuana” could be the answer. It just might help Mom’s memory. Recent studies prove that THC, a compound in the cannabis plant (the scientific name for what many know as “marijuana”) may be the cure.
Those who follow the medical news of research and advancement in potential treatments for Alzheimers, but who are less familiar with cannabis (marijuana) as medicine may have been surprised by recent research out of the University of South Florida. The prestigious Journal of Alzheimer's Disease recently published the results of a study that extremely low doses of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) reduces the production of amyloid beta protein and stops it from accumulating. This protein is found in the brains of most elderly people with Alzheimers, and is early evidence of Alzheimers Disease.
This means that THC can actively fight the progress of Alzheimers in the brain, potentially even curing it.
The lead author of the study, Neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao is quoted as saying "THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer's pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function.”
Studies are ongoing into this interesting treatment with the potential to vastly improve the quality of life, or even cure - those living with Alzheimers. But that’s not all. You are probably aware that most of the people affected by Alzheimers are senior citizens. Many of these seniors suffer from a myriad of diseases, health problem (not to mention age related aches and pains that lesson their enjoyment and ability to participate fully in life as they once did. Interestingly, in laboratories and universities around the world, researches and medical personal are testing this once stigmatized plant and learning how it can help seniors afflicted with a variety of different medical issues. Advancements in cannabis based medicine are accruing at a dizzying speed.
Many of today' senior citizens grew up in the 1960's - a time of cultural shifts and great change. Far from the image of the "little old knitting grandma in the rocking chair" of yesterday, today's seniors have seen it all, and experienced much. Many of them "inhaled" marijuana in their youth; and many of them haven't seen or thought of it since their college days.
Though many patients who use cannabis as medicine (depending on their illness) still prefer to smoke or vaporize (a more healthful option) , especially those using it for its nausea relieving properties, many people who aren’t comfortable with the inhalation process, prefer to use cannabis based creams, tinctures, and food products; which many seniors much prefer. (People who remember the days of the recreational “pot brownie” may be surprised to learn how far cooking with cannabis has come. In regions where the law allows it, healers and patient care professionals make everything from infused spaghetti sauce to teas – whatever form is easiest for the patient.
Changes are occurring quickly in the once much stigmatized field of medical marijuana, and seniors and their advocates are leading the change in their demands for medicine that works. Sam Mellace, a well known Canadian activist with a long international history of effective patient advocacy for access to medical marijuana, says of seniors, : “Why take opiate medication, that will damage your quality of life, when there is Cannabis to make one pain free with no dependency or addiction.” Science has been answering the call, and with the proof being “in the pudding” as they say, it is hoped that laws around the world will be changed to allow patient access to this natural medicine.
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Tracy Lamourie is the President and Creative Director of Lamourie Public Relations & Marketing. In that world, she represents clients as diverse as politicians, entertainment figures, newsmakers, ethical businesses and not for profit groups whose aims she supports. Tracy also has a lot of media experience - radio, TV, newspapers and new media. She’s worked at various times as a television host, television producer, and radio host. She’s also a human rights and social justice activist with a long history of work on various international and local issues Tracy and her work on various social justice issues have also been featured on television broadcasts as varied as CBC’s The Fifth Estate, Court TV, A & E, CTV across North America.