WASHINGTON -- Marijuana may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by reducing inflammation in the brain, researchers reported yesterday.
Tests on rats indicated that a compound found in marijuana stopped the loss of brain cells caused by inflammation and improved the animals' memories.
The findings, presented to a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Atlanta, may help explain some studies that suggest people who regularly smoked marijuana in the 1960s and '70s are now less likely than others the same age to develop Alzheimer's.
Caffeine may have similar effects, said Gary Wenk, of Ohio State University.
``The baby boomers are just getting old enough now that we can just see this," he said in a telephone interview.