“Long-term memory is not stored at the synapse,” said David Glanzman, a senior author of the study, and a UCLA professor of integrative biology and physiology and of neurobiology. “That’s a radical idea, but that’s where the evidence leads. The nervous system appears to be able to regenerate lost synaptic connections. If you can restore the synaptic connections, the memory will come back. It won’t be easy, but I believe it’s possible.”
As long-term memories are formed, the brain creates new proteins that are involved in making new synapses. If something happens to disrupt this process – for example by a concussion or other injury — the proteins may not be synthesized and long-term memories cannot form. This is why people cannot remember what happened moments before a concussion.
But what does this have to do with Alzheimer’s disease? Glanzman says he believes his team has shown that memories are not stored in synapses but elsewhere in the brain – most likely in neurons. So when damaged synapses are restored, there would be restored access to those memories.
Enter Cannabis? All the research so far points to the neuroprotective benefits from medical cannabis for conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, including for brain trauma:
Oct. 2014, Effect of marijuana use on outcomes in traumatic brain injury.
A positive THC screen is associated with decreased mortality in adult patients sustaining TBI.