Compounds found in marijuana may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study from the Salk Institute.

Researchers found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as other compounds, helped to remove one of the key substances thought to trigger the onset of Alzheimer’s: amyloid beta-protein. THC is the chemical in marijuana that gives users a high and can also act as a pain reliever. Amyloid beta-protein build up in nerve cells with aging eventually forming plaque on the brain.

“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” says Professor David Schubert, senior author of the paper.

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