2/14/2018 / By Vicki Batts
Keeping the brain healthy throughout the aging process is a top concern these days. With rates of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on the rise, it is no small wonder that researchers are looking for novel ways to combat brain aging and support cognitive function across the life span. New research has shown that cannabis may just be the answer we’ve been looking for, with scientists discovering that the plant has incredible restorative benefits for the brain.
Estimates suggest that some 14 million Americans will be living with some form of dementia by the year 2050. For 2018, dementia and Alzheimer’s are expected to have cost the country $227 billion. Within the next thirty years, experts posit that the cost of dementia will reach up to $1.1 trillion. As pharmaceutical treatments continuously fail to provide relief, it is no surprise that scientists are now turning to natural, plant medicines like cannabis and turmeric.
Cannabis reverses brain aging
Scientists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Bonn teamed up to examine the potential brain benefits of cannabis in mice. This amazing study is years in the making, with the researchers having built a strong body of evidence on the brain benefits of THC.
To conduct their study, researchers administered a small amount of THC, derived from cannabis, to mice aged two, twelve and 18 months old for the course of one month. Some mice were given a placebo. As sources explain, mice have very short life spans and show substantial cognitive deficiencies at just 12 months of age.
Afterwards, the mice were subjected to a battery of tests to gauge their learning capacity and memory. Incredibly, the team found that older mice treated with cannabis displayed cognitive function that was as good as the youngest control subjects.
As reported by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
Mice that were only given a placebo displayed natural age-dependent learning and memory losses. In contrast, the cognitive functions of the animals treated with cannabis were just as good as the two-month-old control animals. “The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” reported Prof. Andreas Zimmer from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation.
In past studies, the team found that brain aging is accelerated when THC receptors are absent, prompting them to investigate further. In the brain, THC acts very similarly to the cannabinoids naturally produced by the body.
“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 aging in the brain,” Prof. Zimmer commented.
Treating the mice with THC yielded incredibly impressive epigenetic changes in their brains, and the number of links between neurons dramatically increased, as well. “It looked as though the THC treatment turned back the molecular clock,” Zimmer commented.
Science backs cannabis
There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support an array of health benefits and medicinal uses for the cannabis plant — and the research is piling up quick. THC is just one of many beneficial compounds found in the plant; though it is often thought of as nothing more than the plant’s psychoactive component, as the research above shows, THC has its own medicinal value.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is another compound found in cannabis that has recently been under the spotlight. CBD has been shown to have an array of uses, including relief from chronic pain and childhood seizure disorders.
Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is not one specific compound that makes the cannabis plant medicinal, but rather, all of them. Earlier this year, a 52-year-old woman shocked mainstream medical professionals by curing her terminal cancer with nothing but cannabis oil.
You can learn more about the benefits of plant medicine at CBDs.news.
Sources for this article include: