Looking On The Bright Side of Plants

Can Marijuana Slow down Brain Aging?

As we grow older; our memory gets poor. Those that smoke marijuana aren’t known for great memory, but a new study shows that drugs that have components like marijuana’s active ingredients may hold promise for lowering or slowing down brain aging or even Alzheimer’s and other ailments that degenerate the brain.

Since the beginning of the decade, researchers have been analyzing the power of substances similar to marijuana that constitute the brain’s cannabinoid system. In experiments performed on animals, synthetic elements similar to THC, the main psychoactive component in Marijuana, have shown potential in maintaining brain functions. A study carried out in 2008 revealed that a chemical similar to THC lowered the inflammation and enhanced the memory in mice that were old.

The latest review shows that activating the cannabinoid system in the brain may trigger a type of anti-oxidant cleanse, eliminating damaged cells and enhancing the effectiveness of the mitochondria which is the main source of energy that powers the cells resulting in a brain that functions better. Studies conducted previously have connected cannabinoids to higher amounts of the neurotrophic factor derived from the brain. This chemical is the one which protects the tissues in the brain and enhances the development of new ones. During aging, fresh brain cells stop growing consequently, raising the BDNF could slow the decline in cognitive purposes. Activating the cannabinoid receptors can diminish the inflammation in the mind in various ways that may subsequently inhibit a number of these disease processes that cause degenerative brain diseases, for instance, Alzheimer’s.

Other studies have revealed that mice which weren’t exposed to The cannabinoid receptors have great memory early in life but it declined rapidly as they aged. This finding indicates that at some point during the aging process, the cannabinoid process helped the mice to keep normal cognitive functions. The review though makes a disclaimer that there are no definitive studies to confirm the concept that marijuana can enhance brain functions among the older people but it is a critical area of study.

In addition to this, the analysis included in the review offered conflicting results. While some trials were carried out on cannabinoids for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, the studies did not give a conclusive solution on whether cannabinoids give rise to the growth or progression of this disease.

There have been both political and social challenges in conducting the studies to determine the effectiveness of marijuana in slowing down aging. This implies it might take some time to fill the gaps left by past research studies. Researchers are yet to run a conclusive study to see if those who smoke marijuana will probably develop Alzheimer’s disease. They are also yet to compare the decline in the cognitive ability of marijuana smokers to those who do not.