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skfinkel's avatar

Is there a scientific connection between pot smoking and Alzheimer's disease?

Asked by skfinkel (12884 points ) April 10th, 2010

I know of two tragic situations…coincidence or is there something more to this? Are there scientific studies on the subject?

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40 Answers

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

Pot smoking causes brain damage so yes it can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

DarkScribe's avatar

I know a lot of PotHeads – None of them seems affected by Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is now regarded in many medical research circles as “Type 3” diabetes. It is not quite what they thought it was for many years – not brain damage per se. It seems that the brain also duplicates some of the functions of the pancreas.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Hmmm! That’s an interesting question. I wonder if any research has been done on the subject. As far as I know intense pot smoking seems to affect short-term memory while Alzheimer’s seems to be more to do with loss of long-term memories, which are (I think) controlled by different parts of the brain.

I’m interested to see if anyone else has some interesting info relating to this.

cazzie's avatar

Long term heavy drinking has proven to cause more brain damage, but getting people to admit to an illegal activity is harder to gain data on. The pot smokers I know are also heavy drinkers. The combination of the two are a disaster. The three individuals I know can’t hold a thought in their heads for longer than a few minutes before getting distracted by shiny things. Their personal economies are a mess. They’re unable to hold up to responsibilities of any sort and are completely unreliable. I think pot smoking and drinking alcohol makes a person a boring dope.

Element's avatar

Yes it can.

thetmle's avatar

It depends on the individual I guess. I’ve been a daily smoker for years and I have 3.8 GPA at school. I don’t have alzheimers either ;)

skfinkel's avatar

Interesting response that because pot is illegal, there might not be much scientific research out there on the subject.

skfinkel's avatar

@thetmie How old are you? I am talking about people who have been smoking pot from their teen years to middle age—fifties and sixties. I don’t think you would find Alzheimer’s in a younger person, although if there is some connection, and there is enough pot smoking, I guess it would be possible. I really have no idea if there is a connection or not. A couple of cases is not science.

kenmc's avatar

Probably not. I’ve not heard of any studies. Don’t listen to definite answers unless backed up by an emperical study.

People overrate the damage pot does to the brain.

Ivan's avatar

For a while, people were arguing that marijuana was actually a way to treat Alzheimer’s, but that does’t seem to be the case. Link.

thetmle's avatar

@skfinkel I’m 27. I know I’m much too young for alzheimers to set in…I was joking ;)
@boots I agree 100%.

jerv's avatar

Let me put it this way; none of the potheads I know have Alzheimers, and none of the Alzheimers people I know ever smoked pot.

Of course, people tend to link all sorts of things together because they don’t know the difference between coincidence, correlation, and causation.

tinyfaery's avatar

Considering that the generation currently effected by Alzheimer’s is not a generation of pot smokers, I don’t think there can be much of a correlation.

jerv's avatar

The guy downstairs from me could smoke out Snoop Dogg and is the right age for Alzheimers to start but still pretty damned “with it”. Not scientific, but relevant nonetheless.

dave2279's avatar

BBC released a great documentary on marijuana’s short and long term effects. You should look it up, but basically THEIR STUDIES showed the long-term effects for adults is practically nil, with perhaps some beneficial short-term effects for some (pain, stress, etc.) In adolescents and children they stressed a very probable link to psychosis later in life… Who just typed that? :)

john65pennington's avatar

Smoke the pot and you don’t care whats wrong with you.

skfinkel's avatar

@john65pennington: ah, how well does the phrase “ignorance is bliss” just perfect here?

jerv's avatar

@skfinkel There is a difference between ignorance and apathy. You would have to be pretty ignorant to not know that difference.

Ivan's avatar

@jerv

“Let me put it this way; none of the potheads I know have Alzheimers, and none of the Alzheimers people I know ever smoked pot. Of course, people tend to link all sorts of things together because they don’t know the difference between coincidence, correlation, and causation.”

Was that intentionally ironic?

jerv's avatar

@Ivan Nope. Dead serious. And considering how many potheads I know who are old enough for Alzheimers, I’d have to question any claims of such a link.

Ivan's avatar

@jerv

I’m not arguing for a link between the two, but you could know 1000 sharp-minded 90 year old potheads, and that would still mean essentially nothing.

Silhouette's avatar

I forget, what is the connection between the two?

dutchbrossis's avatar

my grandma is an 85 year old who smokes more pot than almost anyone I know or have met. She is wonderful and still very healthy

Ivan's avatar

@dutchbrossis

My grandma is 80 years old, has smoked heavily since she was 14, and doesn’t have lung cancer or emphysema.

dutchbrossis's avatar

@Ivan Awesome !! I bet she is a super sweet lady too right ? At least my grandma is and definitely a stoner

skfinkel's avatar

@dutchbrossis That proves it then!

skfinkel's avatar

@Ivan And that double proves it!

El_Cadejo's avatar

Alright… so people are saying that these cases of “i know so and so who smoked pot for so long and doesnt have it” are crap because they dont provide any data.I agree, but show me some sources that states it does cause alzheimers. This whole question was founded on “I know of two tragic situations”

Give me real evidence.

Ivan's avatar

@uberbatman

I have no reason to believe that marijuana causes Alzheimers, I just take issue with some of the reasoning being used here.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Ivan I agree I believe both sides are at fault here. This isnt a “I know so and so” type of thing. Give me some sources. The fact that those saying it causes alheimers can not supply such sources would lead me to default to no, it doesn’t, that’s all.

superjuicebox's avatar

I’ve actually read that there have been studies that proved that pot smoking prevents Alzheimer’s. I know that one negative effect of pot is a 500% increase in your chance of getting schizophrenia, but thats 500% more of nothing.

Ivan's avatar

@superjuicebox

“I’ve actually read that there have been studies that proved that pot smoking prevents Alzheimer’s.”

See my first comment.

superjuicebox's avatar

@Ivan

Thanks for clarifying. Thats why I said i read that and that i didn’t know that :D But i do know that it increases your chances of getting schizophrenia ! :D

superjuicebox's avatar

@Ivan
Well wait actually, that study only proves that pot has no link with helping a patient with established Alzheimer’s. Prevention is something completely different.

skfinkel's avatar

What I am getting out of this conversation is that no one here actually knows of any science studies on the subject that can enlighten us.

superjuicebox's avatar

@skfinkel
Lol, pretty much.

jerv's avatar

@skfinkel Nothing uncontested anyways, and any study that is that highly disputed is disreputable to the point if irrelevance.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@skfinkel pretty much, but like I said above, without any study saying it does indeed cause alheimzers one would default on no it doenst. Its like saying apples cause leukemia but not backing it up with any sources.

purpledolphin's avatar

Pot is a drug that affects the brain and tends to create some memory loss. Alzheimer’s is a memory loss disorder. It is possible that there is a connection but there is also the fact that there is a lot of Alzheimer’s patients that never smoked pot, so theres really no telling. As for studies, there may be some but they havent been released to the public yet that I know of. I’ll keep on the look out though.

tinyfaery's avatar

If pot smoking causes Alzheimers our grandparents and great grandparents must have been tokin’ heavy.

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