Reefer Madness

Focuses on anandamide, a natural chemical that attaches to the same brain sites as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Interference with memory; Correlation with the origins of memory disorders like Alzheimer's.

By PT Staff, published on March 1, 1996 - last reviewed on June 19, 2012

When Bob Dylan sang that "everybody must get stoned," he was more correct than he knew. It turns out that our brains contain a natural chemical, anandamide, that attaches to the same brain sites as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Apparently, all of us are literally pot-heads.

While this revelation raises all sorts of important questions---for example, does Bill Clinton's brain inhale?--there's also a downside. Psychologists at Queen's University in Ontario report that anandamide, like THC, interferes with memory. Exactly what such a chemical is doing in the brain in the first place remains a mystery. But researchers hope the answer will shed some light on the origins of memory disorders like Alzheimer's.

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