As we grow older; our memory becomes bad. 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 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 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 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 demonstrated that mice that were not exposed to the cannabinoid receptors have good memory early in life, but it diminished 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 conclusive studies to support the idea that marijuana can improve brain functions among the elderly but it is a critical area of investigation.
Moreover, the research included in the review gave 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 research to ascertain the potency 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 carry out a concrete study to see if those who smoke cannabis will less likely develop Alzheimer’s disease. They’re also yet to compare the decrease in the cognitive ability of marijuana smokers to people who do not.