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Marijuana 'staves off' Alzheimer's

6th October 2006

According to new research, the active ingredients in marijuana may help to stave off Alzheimer's disease.

It is particularly the ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is thought to prevent breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

It is this breaking down process that otherwise leads to progressive "memory loss, impaired decision-making and diminished language and movement skills" according to the study.

The researchers also concluded that THC is "effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients".

Marijuana is currently a controlled drug in the UK but scientists were able to produce a synthetic version of the active ingredient.

The Alzheimer's Society estimates that there are currently about 412,500 people in the UK with Alzheimer's disease.