Not included in the list of indications


A molecular link between the active component of marijuana and Alzheimer's disease pathology
Eubanks LM, Rogers CJ, Beuscher AE 4th, Koob GF, Olson AJ, Dickerson TJ, Janda KD
Department of Chemistry and Immunology, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA
Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer's disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer's disease. Here, we demonstrate that the active component of marijuana, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer's disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Abeta aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease

The role of the endocannabinoid system in Alzheimer's disease: facts and hypotheses
Bisogno T, Di Marzo V
Endocannabinoid Research Group, Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Campi Flegrei 34, Pozzuoli (Naples), Italy
Unlike other neuroinflammatory disorders, like Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and multiple sclerosis, little is still known of the role of the endocannabinoid system in Alzheimer's disease (AD). This is partly due to the poor availability of animal models that are really relevant to the human disease, and to the complexity of AD as compared to other neurological states. Nevertheless, the available data indicate that endocannabinoids are likely to play in this disorder a role similar to that suggested in other neurodegenerative diseases, that is, to represent an endogenous adaptive response aimed at counteracting both the neurochemical and inflammatory consequences of beta-amyloid-induced tau protein hyperactivity, possibly the most important underlying cause of AD. Furthermore, plant and synthetic cannabinoids, and particularly the non-psychotropic cannabidiol, might also exert other, non-cannabinoid receptor-mediated protective effects, including, but not limited to, anti-oxidant actions. There is evidence, from in vivo studies on beta-amyloid-induced neurotoxicity, also for a possible causative role of endocannabinoids in the impairment in memory retention, which is typical of AD. This might open the way to the use of cannabinoid receptor antagonists as therapeutic drugs for the treatment of cognitive deficits in the more advanced phases of this disorder. The scant, but nevertheless important literature on the regulation and role of the endocannabinoid system in AD, and on the potential treatment of this disorder with cannabinoids and endocannabinoid-based drugs, are discussed in this mini-review

Prevention of Alzheimer's disease pathology by cannabinoids: neuroprotection mediated by blockade of microglial activation
Ramírez BG, Blázquez C, Gómez del Pulgar T, Guzmán M, de Ceballos ML
Neurodegeneration Group, Cajal Institute, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 28002 Madrid, Spain
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by enhanced beta-amyloid peptide (betaA) deposition along with glial activation in senile plaques, selective neuronal loss, and cognitive deficits. Cannabinoids are neuroprotective agents against excitotoxicity in vitro and acute brain damage in vivo. This background prompted us to study the localization, expression, and function of cannabinoid receptors in AD and the possible protective role of cannabinoids after betaA treatment, both in vivo and in vitro. Here, we show that senile plaques in AD patients express cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, together with markers of microglial activation, and that CB1-positive neurons, present in high numbers in control cases, are greatly reduced in areas of microglial activation. In pharmacological experiments, we found that G-protein coupling and CB1 receptor protein expression are markedly decreased in AD brains. Additionally, in AD brains, protein nitration is increased, and, more specifically, CB1 and CB2 proteins show enhanced nitration. Intracerebroventricular administration of the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 to rats prevent betaA-induced microglial activation, cognitive impairment, and loss of neuronal markers. Cannabinoids (HU-210, WIN55,212-2, and JWH-133) block betaA-induced activation of cultured microglial cells, as judged by mitochondrial activity, cell morphology, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha release; these effects are independent of the antioxidant action of cannabinoid compounds and are also exerted by a CB2-selective agonist. Moreover, cannabinoids abrogate microglia-mediated neurotoxicity after betaA addition to rat cortical cocultures. Our results indicate that cannabinoid receptors are important in the pathology of AD and that cannabinoids succeed in preventing the neurodegenerative process occurring in the disease