Do you remember the Public Service Announcement from the late 1980s that showed a man smashing an egg in a frying pan? Then he turned to the camera and said, “This is your brain on drugs.”
It was an ad produced by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America warning kids to stay away from marijuana.
Flash forward 35 years, and a revolutionary new study has determined that the opposite is true. Let me explain…
Groundbreaking research found that a compound in cannabis can help prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other kinds of dementia.1
That compound is called cannabinol, or CBN.
A team of researchers at the Salk Institute discovered that non-psychoactive CBN protects brain neurons from oxidative stress, a significant cause of cell death.
Oxidative damage and cell death are two of the major factors in the development of Alzheimer’s.
The study authors triggered cell death in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
But the cells that had been pre-treated with CBN remained healthy and undamaged.
However, CBN didn’t just protect the neurons.
It also protects mitochondria. This is important because mitochondria are tiny battery-like structures that provide the energy your cells need to function.
The problem is that as you age, your old mitochondria start to deplete — and those that remain become weaker.
Not only do you lose the energy of your youth, but you also become susceptible to the chronic diseases associated with aging – including Alzheimer’s.
To reinforce their findings, the study was repeated using brain cells that had the mitochondria removed. Once it was gone, CBN no longer displayed its protective effect.
And because mitochondrial dysfunction is connected to a wide range of conditions – including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and cancer2 – this study suggests that CBN can go far beyond treating Alzheimer’s.
I’ve written to you about using CBN to help you stay asleep longer. If you want to try CBN, I suggest starting with 5 to 10 mg. Because it is a recognized sleep aid, it’s a good idea to take it right before bed.
Improve your brain’s mitochondrial function
CBN isn’t the only way to boost your brain’s mitochondrial function. Here are three more I recommend:
- Combine CoQ10 With PQQ. For years I’ve been recommending CoQ10 to my patients. It works by sparking your aging mitochondria to make more energy. But there’s another super-nutrient I recommend for energy. It’s called pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ. It neutralizes free radicals that damage and kill off your mitochondria. At the same time, PQQ triggers your cells to build healthy new power generators. I recommend 10 mg daily of PQQ, along with 50 mg of CoQ10. Both are key to helping your mitochondria stay healthy. Look for the ubiquinol form of CoQ10. It’s more powerful and much easier for your body to absorb.
- Add Some Acetyl-L-Carnitine: This amino plays a crucial role in making energy in your cells. It transports fatty acids into the mitochondria, which are burned for fuel. It also carries toxic waste out before it can do damage. But as you age, levels drop. That’s why you need acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC). Studies show when your mitochondria slow down, ALC can fire them up again. Studies also show ALC reverses the malfunction in mitochondria as you age.3 The best source is grass-fed red meat. But you can also supplement. I suggest taking at least 500 mg of ALC every day on an empty stomach. Look for a formula with only L-carnitine and not D-carnitine. D-carnitine is synthetic.
- Include N-Acetyl-Cysteine. NAC helps your body make more glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant. Glutathione is the main line of defense for mitochondria. It helps prevent and repair oxidative damage, thus protecting your mitochondria.4 I recommend supplementing with 500 mg per day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Liang Z, et al. “Cannabinol inhibits oxytosis/ferroptosis by directly targeting mitochondria independently of cannabinoid receptors.” Free Radic Biol Med. 2022 Feb 20;180:33-51.
2. Srivastava S .“The mitochondrial basis of aging and age-related disorders.” Genes (Basel). 2017 Dec; 8(12):398.
3. Kidd PM. “Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management.” Altern Med Rev. 2005; 10(4):268-93.
4. Montserrat M, et al. “Mitochondrial glutathione, a key survival antioxidant.” Antioxid Redox Signal. 2009; 11(11): 2685–2700.