Can Marijuana Slow Your Brain’s Aging Process?
Jun 14, 2017
Less than 10 years ago, marijuana was illegal everywhere in the United States. Yet, today more and more states are recognizing the medicinal benefits of marijuana. And legalizing it.
As marijuana becomes more acceptable, more studies have been done and the news is astounding. Why? Because new studies show that medical marijuana can actually slow down your brain’s aging process.
Excited? Read on.
How Does Medical Marijuana Slow Aging?
As everyone knows, with the increase of age, our memory performance decreases. It’s just a natural side effect of getting older. Or is it? Do humans have to accept getting older or is there something to be done?
This latest research, by scientists from University of Bonn and Hebrew University, shows that humans may be able to help prevent brain function from slowing as they grow older.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana has shown to boost memory, learning, and cognitive function in older mice.
It is important to note that the dosage of THC administered to the mice was so small that there was no intoxicating effect on them.
How Was the Experiment Performed?
There were three testing groups of mice used while conducting this scientific experiment. Each group represented mice at a certain age. The experiment lasted approximately four weeks.
The three groups used were 2 months, one year, and 18 months. Some mice were given a placebo while other mice were given small doses of THC.
Each group of mice solved a water maze.
The mice were tested for:
- Learning Capacity
- Memory Performance
- Orientation Skills
- Recognition of Other Mice
What Were the Results of THC with the Test Groups?
After four weeks of conducting this experiment, the results were astonishing.
Researchers found that:
- 18 Months With No THC: Older mice who weren’t given THC during this experiment showed difficulty recognizing familiar objects. They also experienced difficulty navigating the maze.
- 18 Months With THC: Those older mice who were given THC actually scored very similarly to the younger, more vibrant mice. And they did so for an entire month after the dosing stopped.
However, the youngest group of mice who were administered the THC seemed to decline in their cognitive abilities.
Why? Because both under stimulation and over stimulate is harmful. Meaning that in young mice, the endogenous cannabinoid system is already pretty active so adding THC simply overstimulated the mice until their cognitive function declined. The same is true for young people.
One wonders what impact this information will have on current cannabis stocks.
What Do These Findings Mean?
“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” reported Prof. Andreas Zimmer from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation.
Great, THC reverses loss of performance in old animals, but what does that mean for humans?
It means that the THC is stimulating the brain’s endocannabinoid system.
What is an Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system is a biochemical pathway that slows down with aging. It’s located within the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. Its receptors help regulate memory, mood, appetite, and pain.
The human body actually makes its own cannabinoids. They help regulate what is being neurotransmitted. When THC is inhaled or ingested into the system, it competes with the body’s own cannabinoids for the receptors.
This is what leads to changes in which signals are released.
This study is sure to lead to more studies that will no doubt shed further light on the myriad health benefits of medical marijuana.