Ways in Which Marijuana May Slow Down Brain Aging
As we grow older; our memory gets poor. Those that smoke marijuana aren’t known for good memory, but a new study suggests that drugs which have components like marijuana’s active ingredients can hold promise for decreasing or slowing down brain aging or even Alzheimer’s and other diseases which degenerate the brain.
Since the start of the decade, scientists have been studying the ability of substances similar to marijuana that produce the brain’s cannabinoid system. In experiments performed on animals, synthetic components similar to THC, the main psychoactive element in Marijuana, have demonstrated potential in maintaining brain functions. A study conducted in 2008 revealed that a substance much like THC diminished the inflammation and enhanced the memory in rats that were old.
The most recent review demonstrates that activating the cannabinoid System in the brain may trigger a type of anti-oxidant cleanse, eliminating damaged cells and enhancing the potency of the mitochondria which is the most important source of energy which forces the cells leading to a brain that works better. Research conducted formerly has linked cannabinoids to greater quantities of the neurotrophic factor derived from the brain. This substance is the one that protects the cells in the brain and enhances the growth of new ones. During aging, new brain cells stop growing thus, increasing the BDNF could slow the decrease in cognitive functions. Activating the cannabinoid receptors can reduce the inflammation in the brain in different ways that may subsequently inhibit some of the disease processes that cause degenerative brain diseases, for example, Alzheimer’s.
Other studies have shown that mice that were not exposed to the cannabinoid receptors have good memory early in life but it declined rapidly as they aged. This finding reveals that at some point during the aging process, the cannabinoid process assisted the mice to maintain ordinary cognitive functions. The review though makes a disclaimer that there are no definitive conclusions to confirm the concept that marijuana can enhance brain functions among the elderly but it’s a vital area of investigation.
More to this, the research included in the review provided conflicting results. Although some trials were conducted on cannabinoids for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, the research did not give a conclusive answer on whether cannabinoids contribute to the growth or progression of this disease.
There have been both political and societal challenges in carrying out the studies to ascertain the ability 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 conduct a concrete study to see if those that smoke marijuana will less likely develop Alzheimer’s. They’re also yet to compare the decrease in the cognitive ability of marijuana smokers to people who do not.