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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If Paul McCartney Succumbs to Alzheimer's, Blame (a lack of) Marijuana

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 7:40 AM

But pot is no longer with him
  • But pot is no longer with him

Far from being dead, Sir Paul McCartney's spectacular musical career enters its sixth decade this June, when the Beatle and vegetarian turns 70. That's a long and winding road, and one on which McCartney's constant companion has been cannabis.

But not any longer. McCartney recently quit smoking pot in order to better focus on raising his 8-year old daughter, he told Rolling Stone in a recent interview. That news is sure to warm the hearts of the children he raised in the 1970s and 1980s, when he was busted transporting a half- pound of pot to Japan.

For fans of McCartney's work (and his lack of senility), his timing could not have been worse. While stoner moments might resemble senior moments in "popular" convention, the magic plant in fact wards off instances of memory loss connected to Alzheimer's disease, according to findings published in a new book.

Yes, pot helps the brain fight Alzheimer's, according to journalist Clint Werner's Marijuana: A Gateway to Health.

The notion that pot fights Alzheimer's is nothing new: A study published in 2006 by the Scripps Institute said that THC -- described as "the active ingredient" in marijuana, a notion since exploded by the discovery of other active cannabinoids like CBD, with hundreds others yet to examine -- worked better at stopping the spread of amyloid plaque in the brain than pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for the purpose.

THC blocks the enzyme which creates the plaque that inhibits brain function, which means that marijuana can inhibit or halt entirely the spread of Alzheimer's in an older brain, researchers said. Stopping the enzyme's attack on brain cells is one thing, but marijuana use has also been linked to the creation of healthy, new brain cells, according to Werner's book, which was released last year.

McCartney and the rest of the Beatles first used marijuana in the early 1960s at the behest of Bob Dylan -- and who were the Fab Four to turn Zimmy down? The habit apparently took, as McCartney wrote "Got to Get You into My Life" about reefer, according to reports, and spoke in favor of drug legalization in interviews well into the 1990s.

If Rolling Stone asked him about legalization, Sir Paul was demure; the interview doesn't mention it one way or the other, nor does he say exactly when he decided he'd smoked a lifetime's worth of cannabis.

"I smoked my share," he said, adding: "When you're bringing up a youngster, your

sense of responsibility does kick in, if you're lucky, at some point." He ended with: "Enough's enough --  you just don't seem to think it's

necessary," according to the interview (which you can't read online, sorry; go buy a magazine, freeloader).

So did marijuana use contribute to McCartney's longevity? Possibly, but since he and the other Beatles admitted to using it, as well as LSD, to create Sergeant Pepper and other records regarded as indispensable classics, seems as if it's immaterial at this point.

And though the world doesn't need the spectacle of McCartney drooling on himself the next time he swings through town on tour, it would certainly give further credence to what scientists discovered last decade.

Maybe for the sake of his daughter and for the rest of us, he ought to keep on smokin'.



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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Bio:
Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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