What does the 4 billion a year, blockbuster Alzheimer's drug donepezil (trade name Aricept) have in common with insecticides, chemical weapons and venom? Quite a lot more than consumers taking them have been lead to believe. As a member of the chemical class known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors donepezil interferes with the cholinesterase enzyme, preventing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from breaking... resulting in an increase in both its levels and duration of action.
Could the active ingredient in marijuana, responsible for its characteristic "high," help turn the tide against the accelerating Alzheimer's epidemic? A remarkable study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology in 2006, found that this long vilified plant may contain a compound with not one, but two therapeutic properties ideal for addressing both the surface symptom (memory problems) and root cause (brain plaque) of Alzheimer’s disease.