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Cannabis Can Help Regenerate The Aging Brain And Prevent Dementia

Cannabis Can Help Regenerate The Aging Brain And Prevent Dementia

Over time, the body of scientific evidence about the medicinal value of cannabis becomes increasingly convincing when more research is done. This time, scientists are discovering that cannabis even helps the brain to regenerate and prevent dementia, as Dr. Mercola reports in his blog.

The potential of cannabis

Cannabis contains chemicals called cannabinoids. These substances are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The latter interact with the human body through cannabinoid receptors that are naturally present in the cell membranes of the body, called the endocannabinoid system.

Scientists now believe that the endocannabinoid system can be the body's most common receptor system. In fact, there are cannabinoid receptors in the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, immune system.

The body actually makes its own cannabinoids, similar to those found in cannabis, but in much smaller amounts than those obtained from the plant. The fact that the body is filled with cannabinoid receptors, demonstrates several biological functions, and explains why cannabis has a huge medical potential.

Often medicinal cannabis is made from plants that are sown to have a high content of CBD and THC. While THC has psychoactive activity, CBD does not. However, recent research shows that THC should not be completely eliminated simply because it is psychoactive. It has a valuable therapeutic potential in itself.

THC can slow the aging process of the brain
According to a 2017 study conducted at the University of Bonn in Germany, THC has a beneficial influence on the aging brain. Rather than alleviating or impairing cognition, THC appears to reverse the aging process and improve mental processes, increasing the potential for it to be useful for the treatment of dementia in the elderly.

During the study, the mice received a small daily dose of THC in one month at 2 months, 12 months, and 18 months of age. It is important to understand that mice generally live up to 2 years. The dose was low enough to avoid any psychoactive effects.

The tests evaluated the learning, memory, orientation and recognition skills of the animals. Interestingly, 18-month-old mice given THC demonstrated cognitive abilities at 2 months, while the placebo group experienced cognitive impairment associated with normal aging.

According to one of the authors, neurobiology professor Andreas Zimmer, the treatment completely reversed the performance loss in old animals. The professor also claimed that the result was the same despite repeated experiments. Even more remarkable, gene activity and molecular profile in brain tissue were those of much younger animals. Specifically, hippocampal neurons have generated more synaptic spines that are necessary points of contact for communication between neurons.

According to Zimmer, THC appears to have pushed back the molecular clock in THC-treated animals. Previous research has also shown that the brain ages much more rapidly in mice that do not have functional receptors for THC, suggesting that THC may be involved in regulating the aging process.

Cannabinoids maintain homeostasis
The endocannabinoid system has homeostatic properties, which means that it helps to balance the body's response to stress. This helps explain some of the individual variations in the response to cannabis.

In the brain, cannabinoids modulate neuronal activity. In young people, where endogenous cannabinoids are already abundant, cannabis will not have the same effect as in the elderly, where the activity of the endogenous cannabinoid system is much lower. The effects of THC in particular appear to vary considerably with age.

Overall, the results seem to support the researchers' belief that benefits for older mice result from stimulation of the endocannabinoid brain system, a biochemical pathway in mice and humans that becomes less active over time.

Cannabis for pain
Polls show that older Americans are converting more and more to cannabis. Between 2006 and 2013, consumption among people aged 50 to 64 increased by 60%. Among people over 65, consumption jumped 250%. Pain and sleep are among the causes for which cannabis is taken for medical purposes.

Given the high risk of fatal consequences of opioid analgesics and sleeping pills, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is a boon.
Cannabis Can Help Regenerate The Aging Brain And Prevent Dementia