MAY 13, 2020 7:34 AM PDT

Cannabis May Reverse Aging in the Brain

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Cannabis is usually associated with cognitive deficits such as short term memory loss, and problems maintaining attention. Research now suggests however that it may work differently on older users. Rather than invoking learning impairments, it may reverse age-related cognitive decline. 

In a study, researchers demonstrated that cannabis was able to reverse aging in the brains of mice. To find this out, they treated mice aged between two, 12 and 18 months old with low doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis responsible for feeling ‘high’. They also monitored a control group on a placebo. After the four-week drug regimen, they then tested the learning capacities and memory performance of the mice including orientation skills and their ability to recognize other mice. 

In the end, the mice dosed with THC demonstrated cognitive functioning similar to that of the two-month-old control animals. Meanwhile, the mice in the placebo group displayed memory loss and age-dependent decline in learning abilities appropriate for their age.

To explain the findings, Andreas Zimmer, one of the study’s authors, says, "With increasing age, the quantity of the cannabinoids naturally formed in the brain reduces...When the activity of the cannabinoid system declines, we find rapid ageing in the brain."

The researchers also examined the brain tissue and genetic activity of the mice treated with THC. In doing so, they found that the molecular signaling in these mice no longer resembled that of other mice their age. It was instead more similar to the younger mice. The researchers also observed an increase in nerve cells in their brains, something linked to learning and cognitive processing speed.

Although remarkable findings, as human trials assessing the same phenomenon are yet to be conducted, it is too soon to say whether the results translate over to humans. Nevertheless, the researchers say that their findings pave the way for further research avenues assessing the possibility of low doses of THC as a remedy for various brain injuries and treatment of age-related cognitive decline. 


Sources: Science Daily, PubMed

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
FEB 05, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Should You Be Using Marijuana While Pregnant? Researchers Weigh In
FEB 05, 2020
Should You Be Using Marijuana While Pregnant? Researchers Weigh In
Recreational marijuana use becomes increasingly common as legalization spreads across the country. That includes women w ...
FEB 25, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Marijuana Use Among Seniors Over 65 Skyrockets
FEB 25, 2020
Marijuana Use Among Seniors Over 65 Skyrockets
Following its legalization, cannabis and its products have become increasingly popular- and not just among young people. ...
APR 23, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
No Difference Between Indica and Sativa Cannabis Strains
APR 23, 2020
No Difference Between Indica and Sativa Cannabis Strains
Cannabis growers and sellers have defined different strains of cannabis as ‘indica’ or ‘sativa’ ...
JUN 18, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Higher THC Concentrations Won't Make You Higher
JUN 18, 2020
Higher THC Concentrations Won't Make You Higher
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Known to give users that 'high' feeling, ...
JUN 29, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Should You Give Cannabis to Your Cat?
JUN 29, 2020
Should You Give Cannabis to Your Cat?
There is very limited research on the effects of cannabinoids on pets. Although some studies have emerged touting their ...
JUL 07, 2020
Health & Medicine
Recreational Cannabis: Is There a Heart Health Caution?
JUL 07, 2020
Recreational Cannabis: Is There a Heart Health Caution?
As of May 2020, Cannabis is fully legal in 20 states and has partial legality (e.g. it may be legal as a medicine b ...
Loading Comments...