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New Patent for THC Alzheimer’s Drug Researched by University of South Florida

India Globalization Capital, Inc. (IGC) announced on September 21, 2022, that they had secured a second patent (#11,446,276) from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent is for a new prescription medication to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The original patent for the medication was registered by the University of South Florida (USF) for a low-dose THC therapeutic and prophylactic.  In 2017, IGC entered into an exclusive license agreement with USF to acquire the patent and clinical research for the drug. And the new patent will allow IGC research to continue.

University of South Florida Research Into Low-THC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic

The University of South Florida (USF) published an article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, DOI: 10.3233/JAD-140093, on August 27, 2014. The researchers included Chuanhai Cao, Yaqiong Li, Hui Liu, Ge Bai, Jonathan May, Xiaoyang Lin, Kyle Sutherland,  Neel Nabar, and Jianfeng Cai.

In “The Potential Therapeutic Effects of THC on Alzheimer’s Disease,” researchers discussed the therapeutic potential of low-dose THC; they reported the benefits outweighed any risks for Alzheimer’s patients. Other clinical studies have previously suggested that THC could contribute to further memory impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

How many people have Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Cao’s studies were conducted at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute. His team combined THC, caffeine, and natural compounds, testing the effects on mice.  The testing involved a genetically-engineered version of Alzheimer’s in animal cell studies. 

While cannabinoids (including THC) have been shown to provide antioxidant and protective properties for cells, the study had a breakthrough.  Dr. Cao’s team discovered that very low doses of THC can reduce the production of a protein called amyloid beta.  And patients with Alzheimer’s disease show higher protein levels, which is attributed to brain impairment and memory loss.

The University of South Florida study also found evidence that THC can enhance mitochondrial function.  The mitochondria trigger the growth of cells and help regulate apoptosis or “cell death.” That means low-dose THC may protect brain cells and slow the degenerative brain process of Alzheimer’s patients. 

The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease advance through different stages of cognitive impairment.  As the patient progresses, the function of the central nervous system (CNS) is compromised.  This leads to a breakdown of the communication network between the brain and vital organs and functions. 

There are seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Stage 1 (No apparent cognitive decline).
  • Stage 2 (Nominal cognitive decline) with an average life expectancy of > ten (10) years.
  • Stage 3 (Mild cognitive decline) with < ten (10) years average life expectancy.
  • Stage 4 (Moderate cognitive decline) with 3-8 years average life expectancy.
  • Stage 5 (Moderately severe cognitive decline) with 1-6 years average life expectancy.
  • Stage 6 (Severe cognitive decline) > 4 years average life expectancy.
  • Stage 7 (Very severe cognitive decline) > 2.5 years average life expectancy. 
cannabis and Alzheimers disease
Deposit Photos

When people think about Alzheimer’s disease, they often believe that dementia or memory loss is the only symptom that patients experience.  Because as the disease progresses, the cognitive impairment can cause a variety of debilitating symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty swallowing and digestive problems.
  • Problems with word recollection and verbal expression.
  • Inability to learn new tasks.
  • Forgetfulness and repetition.
  • Misplacing objects and belongings.
  • Directional impairment (getting lost easily).

One of the most difficult symptoms for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease is mood disorders.  Patients with the chronic illness can express anxiety and depression in the early stages after diagnosis.  However, mood disorders, including anger, irritability, and aggression, can occur as the symptoms advance. 

Cannabis May Unlock Better Treatment Plans for Patients

If low-dose THC can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, it would improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers.  And give families more time with their loved ones before irreversible memory and physiological impairments occur. 

Throughout the seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease, cannabis as part of a doctor-supervised treatment plan may also relieve patients’ symptoms. And help moderate feelings of depression and anxiety, muscular pain, nausea, and more. 

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