DAILY DOSE OF CANNABIS REVERSES AGING PROCESSES IN THE BRAIN, STUDY
Research by the University of Bonn in conjunction with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that a chemical found in Cannabis can reverse the aging process in mice if given in low doses.
Ordinarily, the brain loses cognitive function as animals age and things such as memory, the ability to learn new information and relaying messages to the body quickly begin to deteriorate.
The study was conducted on mice as they have a relatively short lifespan while at the same time having brains complex enough that cognitive deterioration can be noticed and recorded, as well as the recovery of cognitive function.
In the study, mice of various ages and states of mental deterioration were given low doses of an active compound found in cannabis (THC) over the course of four weeks.
What they found was that mice were better able to recognize other mice and performed to the same cognitive levels as much younger mice.
Andreas Zimmer of the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn said of the findings: "The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals, " The researchers are now hoping for approval to begin human trials, and given the fact that the chemicals are already approved for pain relief in many countries and are completely legal even in raw forms in some, the prospects appear promising.
The research opens up numerous possibilities for potentially treating human diseases as well as improving general brain function and could be adapted for a treatment for diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer's.
Whether or not THC has the same effects on humans as it does on mice or whether there is an effective dosage level after which the chemical becomes less useful will require further research.
Already many millions of people around the world ingest THC in some form voluntarily every day, and they often aren't the most cognitively functional individuals.
The findings of the mouse study will no doubt be warmly received by those campaigning for the legalization of cannabis in all its forms.
Previous studies into the effects of cannabis on humans have concluded that low doses can reduce inflammation in the brain, improves general cognition and can help manage chronic pain.
If the specific effects noticed on the mice can be replicated in humans, low dose THC could potentially become as widespread as a daily aspirin regime.