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University of Coimbra demonstrates benefits of cannabis in Alzheimer's

A study led by researcher Attila Köfalvi, from the Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, concluded that cannabis could improve energy consumption by the brain deficient in Alzheimer's disease, recently advanced Agência Lusa, Sic Notícias and Público , citing a note released by the University of Coimbra. The article […]

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A study led by researcher Attila Köfalvi, from the Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, concluded that cannabis could improve energy consumption by the brain deficient in Alzheimer's disease, the Lusa Agency recently advanced, Sic News and the Public, citing a note released by the Coimbra University.

Attila Kofalvi, neurobiologist and researcher at the Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, is the first author of the scientific article published in the journal Neuropharmacology
(Photo: DR)

The scientific article, published in 2016 in the journal neuropharmacology, reveals that the finding, tested in mice, lies in separating the positive and negative effects of cannabis. The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), acts on two receptors of the endocannabinoid system located in the brain – CB1 and CB2 – and which are distinguished as the “bad cops and the good cops”.

“CB1 receptors are associated with neuronal death, mental disorders and addiction to different drugs or alcohol, while CB2, on the contrary, cancel many of the negative actions of CB1, protecting neurons, promoting glucose (energy) consumption by the brain. and decreasing drug dependence”, says the note published by the UC. Through various laboratory techniques, the researchers concluded that “CB2 receptors, when stimulated by THC analogues chemically modified to interact only with CB2 receptors without activating CB1, thus avoiding psychotropic effects and maintaining beneficial effects, promote increased glucose uptake in the brain”, explained Attila Köfalvi, first author of the article.

One of the images illustrating the conclusions of the study carried out at the University of Coimbra demonstrates that the effect of CB2 extends to other brain cells, such as astrocytes, which help the functioning of neurons.

Additional experiments with other techniques have shown that this effect of CB2 is not limited to neurons, but extends to other brain cells that help neurons function, such as astrocytes. “In the future, this discovery could pave the way for a palliative therapy in Alzheimer's disease”, admits Attila Köfalvi. Several Portuguese, Spanish and Argentinean Research Institutes collaborated in the investigation.

Cannapress has already sent requests for an interview to researcher Attila Köfalvi to deepen the conclusions of this study, but for now the researcher is not available to make statements. We also asked for a reaction to this discovery and its implications for Portuguese patients from the Scientific Committee of the Alzheimer Portugal Association, but so far we have not received any response.

More studies on cannabinoids in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease can be consulted in the database of PubMed.

Alzheimer's Disease is characterized by neuronal death in certain parts of the brain, being the most common type of dementia, affecting about 1% of the Portuguese population. It causes the progressive and irreversible deterioration of several cognitive functions - such as memory, attention, concentration, language and thinking, among others - making it difficult or even impossible for patients to perform the simplest daily tasks. The name is due to Alois Alzheimer, a German physician who in 1907 described the disease for the first time.
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Featured photo taken from the website The Free Thought Project

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