Marijuana Study: Cannabis Reverses Memory Loss
At some point in our lives it gradually dawns on us that we cannot remember certain names or we find it difficult to recall that one word that use to come to us naturally. Whether forgetfulness sets in due to a medical condition or simply a ripe old age, it can interfere with our day to day life and can make social interactions and gatherings a little less enjoyable. Aging is a natural process and just like the rest of our organs our brains age as well. This decrease in cognitive ability may result in disability to learn new things and eventually can promote dementia.
Scientists at the University of Bonn and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have now revealed a new discovery by studying the effects of THC on memory in mice. The researchers administered a small amount of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, to mice of various ages ranging from two, twelve and eighteen months over a period of four weeks. They later tested learning capacity including orientation and recognition of other mice. Mice that were treated with placebo displayed all the symptoms of natural cognitive decline, but on the other hand mice treated with cannabinoid THC performed as well as two-month-old control group. The treatment with THC completely reversed the loss of performance in old mice. The study lead to a discovery that the brain ages much faster when mice did not possess any functional receptors for THC. CB1 is one of the receptors to which substances bind to trigger a signal, and it is in this way brain cells communicate with each other. CB1 is also the reason one experiences intoxicating effects of THC when it accumulates at this receptor. THC imitates the effects of endocannabinoids, cannabinoids naturally produced by the body, which fulfill important functions in the brain. To discover exactly what the effect of THC has in old mice, researchers examined brain tissue and gene activity of these mice. The findings were surprising, the gene expressions of these mice no longer corresponded to that of old mice, likewise, the number of connections between neurons also increased, which is an important prerequisite in learning ability. It appeared as though THC treatment rolled back the molecular clock.
The North Rhine-Westphalia science minister Svenja Schulze appeared thrilled by the study: “The promotion of knowledge-led research is indispensable, as it is the breeding ground for all matters relating to application. Although there is a long path from mice to humans, I feel extremely positive about the prospect that THC could be used to treat dementia, for instance."
Source: University of Boonn