How Marijuana May Potentially Slow Down Brain Aging
As we grow older, our memory becomes 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 components similar to THC, the main psychoactive element in Marijuana, have demonstrated 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 most recent review proves that activating the cannabinoid System in the brain can trigger a type of anti-oxidant cleanse, removing damaged cells and improving the effectiveness of the mitochondria that are the main source of energy which forces the cells leading to a brain that functions better. Research conducted formerly has linked cannabinoids to greater quantities 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, new brain cells stop growing thus, increasing the BDNF could slow the decrease in cognitive functions. 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 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 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.
More to this, the research included in the review provided conflicting results. Even though some trials were conducted on cannabinoids for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, the studies did not give a conclusive solution on whether cannabinoids contribute to the increase or progression of the 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 that it might take some time to fill the gaps left research studies done in the past. 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.