There’s a lot of conflicting information circulating as to how cannabis affects the aging process. Some schools of thought claim that cannabis makes you age faster, while at the same time, others claim that cannabis can reverse the aging process.
One of the reasons the issue is relevant is because weed usage has escalated sharply over the past ten years, accelerating during Covid, in people 65 and older. Senior citizens, some of whom have used cannabis for the first time, stated reasons for using weed such as combating anxiety, pain management, better relaxation, and dealing with boredom.
But one of the biggest draws in using weed, according to the 65 and older demographic, is that using cannabis feels safer than using traditional pain management medications, particularly when considering the types of side effects that often come with traditional pain meds.
So, while there are clear motivations and benefits for older people using cannabis, does weed accelerate or help the aging process? There’s evidence to suggest that it can speed up aging, especially in heavy users, regardless as to how old they are. This is yet another reason to practice moderation, especially for younger users, whose brains are still developing, and those who have genetic predispositions to aging.
Yet conversely, there’s now emerging evidence to suggest that low doses of THC can actually reverse the brain’s aging process – in mice. The THC, when administered in small doses, helps the mice to learn faster and more efficiently.
As our ability to learn naturally slows down with the aging process, this is exciting research that we can expect to see expanded upon with humans in the future. Cannabis is known for helping to decrease inflammation, so there is hope that one day it can help to increase cognition in aging adults – in moderation.