There’s an increasingly common belief that poor microbiome diversity can influence the development of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Some studies found that gut bacteria interferes with clearing beta-amyloid plaques, increasing the vulnerability of the gut and blood-brain barrier and aiding inflammatory responses.
Wei Jiang, M.D., a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), is studying the health effects of cannabis, and neurological diseases. She points out that while cannabis has positive mental effects, such as reducing anxiety, long-term use can lead to impaired memory, learning and motor skills, negative oral health, even AD.
Jiang’s research found unusually high levels of the bacterium Actinomyces meyeri resulting in more amyloid-beta proteins in the brains of frequent cannabis smokers, but not tobacco or cocaine users.
“In general, the amount of A. meyeri should be very low in a healthy oral microbiome,” adds Jiang in the Neuroscience News article. Dr. Jiang adds additional studies are needed to distinguish the effects of the psychoactive (THC) versus non-psychoactive (CBD) components, which are different.