Research have found chemicals in cannabis with promising potential as treatment for dementia — however, current drug laws are restricting the further research necessary for conclusive findings, they say.

Early studies found that “cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can aid the removal of dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells,” reports Independent. Leader of the study Professor David Schubert cited legal issues as a “major roadblock” to further research, saying “it’s so blatantly obvious that this plant should be studied in greater detail.”

via Independent:

The researchers used a small amount of synthetically-produced cannabinoids in the first study, which was found to stimulate the removal of a toxic plaque associated with dementia in the brain.

Dementia, which mainly affects older people, causes a deterioration in memory, thinking and behaviour and can impede someone’s ability to perform everyday activities.

It affects around 47.5 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and it recently overtook heart disease to become the leading cause of death in England and Wales. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.