How Marijuana May Potentially Slow Down Brain Aging
As we grow older, our memory becomes poor. Those that smoke marijuana aren’t known for good memory, but a new study suggests that drugs which have components like marijuana’s active ingredients can hold promise for decreasing or slowing down brain aging or even Alzheimer’s and other diseases which degenerate the brain.
Since the beginning of the decade, researchers have been analyzing the power of substances similar to marijuana that constitute the brain’s cannabinoid system. In experiments performed on animals, synthetic elements similar to THC, the main psychoactive component in Marijuana, have shown potential in maintaining brain functions. A study carried out in 2008 revealed that a chemical similar to THC lowered the inflammation and enhanced the memory in mice that were old.
The most recent review proves that activating the cannabinoid System in the brain can trigger a type of anti-oxidant cleanse, removing damaged cells and improving the effectiveness of the mitochondria that are the main source of energy which forces the cells leading to a brain that functions better. Studies conducted in the past have linked cannabinoids to greater amounts of the neurotrophic factor derived from the brain. This chemical is the one which protects the tissues in the brain and enhances the development of new ones. During aging, new brain cells quit growing consequently, raising the BDNF could slow the decline in cognitive purposes. Activating the cannabinoid receptors can reduce the inflammation in the brain in different ways that may subsequently inhibit some of the disease processes that cause degenerative brain diseases, for example, Alzheimer’s.
Other studies have demonstrated that mice that were not exposed to the cannabinoid receptors have good memory early in life, but it diminished rapidly as they aged. This finding reveals that at some point during the aging process, the cannabinoid process assisted the mice to maintain ordinary cognitive functions. The review though makes a disclaimer that there are no definitive conclusions to confirm the concept that marijuana can enhance brain functions among the elderly but it’s a vital area of investigation.
In addition to this, the analysis included in the review offered conflicting results. Even though some trials were conducted on cannabinoids for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, the studies did not give a conclusive solution on whether cannabinoids contribute to the increase or progression of the disease.
There have been both political and social challenges in conducting the research to ascertain the potency of marijuana in slowing down aging. This implies that it might take some time to fill the gaps left research studies done in the past. Researchers are yet to run a conclusive study to see if those who smoke marijuana will probably develop Alzheimer’s disease. They are also yet to compare the decline in the cognitive ability of marijuana smokers to those who do not.
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