The more research that’s done on medicinal marijuana, the more benefits we’re seeing sprout like an uncontrollable, well, weed. From relieving pain during menstruation or for reproductive disorders like endometriosis, to treating depression to improving sex, the possibilities seem endless. Seriously, is there anything cannabis can’t do?
According to new research, cannabis may also reverse some of the effects of aging on our thinker. With age comes wisdom, sure, but as we grow older our mental and physical faculties start to decline. It’s the part of celebrating another year around the sun that no one looks forward to. So, while your skin isn’t going to suddenly stop sagging from marijuana use, your body’s mainframe might actually benefit.
The study, published in the May 2017 issue of Nature Medicine, was conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany and The Hebrew University in Israel. They tested their hypothesis that the brain’s natural aging process could be reversed by administering a small, daily dose of cannabis to a group of mice that were either two-, 12- or 18-months old (keep in mind that mice typically live to about two years old) over the course of a month. What researchers noticed was that the older mice were able to regress back to the state of the two-month old mice when given a daily, low dose of cannabis for a prolonged period of time.
“It looked as though the THC treatment turned back the molecular clock,” doctor Andreas Zimmer wrote in the paper.
The study also considered the cognitive performance of the mice in terms of their spatial learning, memory, recognition of other mice, and the speed at which they learned new tasks. They found that cannabis did indeed aid the cognitive abilities of the older mice who were given the daily dose. Meanwhile, another group of mice administered a placebo displayed normal cognitive deterioration as they aged. According to these findings, this “could be a potential strategy to slow down or even to reverse cognitive decline in the elderly.”
But don’t get too excited just yet. While the study does sound promising, it’s important to remember that testing is still in the early stages. Not to mention, currently the research is only being completed on rodents, not humans. The next step will be for similar research to be done using actual human beings as participants, at which point we could be more sure whether a small dose of medicinal marijuana a day can help fend off the brain’s natural decay.
Cannabis might not be the fountain of eternal youth that we have all been waiting for, but these new findings have certainly got our attention.
Featured image by Jean Gerber via Unsplash