Alzheimer’s, inflammation, and marijuana

Dr. Gary Wenk on NPR talking about inflammation and Alzheimer’s. One thing to note: the doses used in these studies are well below that required for psychoactive effects. But I guess I should tell it to the FDA.

On a related note, curry is also good for reducing inflammation. The JohnnyB diet of all curry all the time works!

Curry and anti-inflammation

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Marijuana and memory impairment

Now, I’m posting this for two reasons. One, I’m analyzing brain waves like the scientists here (theta, gamma, etc.) Two, I am throwing this out there to demonstrate that marijuana has negative as well as beneficial effects on mental health. Like most of these posts on these science blogs they are far too glib with their conclusions:

Example:
Because theta and gamma oscillations are thought to play a critical role in creating and storing short-term memories–and fast ripple oscillations may allow such short-term memories to be moved into long-term storage–this suppression could mean missing memories for the rats.

In truth we know very little about how theta and gamma work together in creating and storing memories, and much, much less about fast ripple oscillations. We do know that strong theta in the hippocampus is correlated with good working memory, but we know less about how theta is generated in seperate parts of the brain. Basically, these conclusions made by the scientific american blogger tend to gloss over the specific effects of MJ, at which sites. In other words, are MJ’s effects localized to the thalamus, cortex, hippocampus, and which generators of these different brain waves are effected and how? Practically any psychoactive drug will cause changes in these brain waves, but this in and of itself tells us little about how the drug works.

Marijuana and Alzheimers Disease

News from the recent conference. Dr Wenk is a colleague and lab-neighbor. He gets in the news a lot, check out his homepage online and you’ll see. He’s done research on gingko biloba, chocolate, caffeine and knows a lot about a wide range of issues. He’s a nice guy, a good teacher and researcher, a rare trifecta for profs. So don’t bombard him with e-mails if he sounds glib here. In his defense he was in the airport and pretty tired when he was interviewed.