How Marijuana May Potentially 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 done on animals, synthetic constituents similar to THC, the major psychoactive element in Marijuana, have shown potential in keeping 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 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. 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 quit growing consequently, raising the BDNF could slow the decline in cognitive purposes. Activating the cannabinoid receptors may lower the inflammation in the brain in various ways which may, in turn, inhibit some of the 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 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 social challenges in conducting the research to ascertain the potency of marijuana in slowing down aging. This means that it may take some time to fill the gaps left by previous research studies. Researchers are yet to conduct a concrete study to see if those that smoke marijuana will less likely develop Alzheimer’s. They are also yet to compare the decrease in marijuana smoker’s cognitive ability to people who don’t.