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Many people normally associate Cannabis with things like lack of attention and cognitive deficits such as short term memory loss. However recent research is now showing that this may not be the case and that in fact it may work differently in older users and as opposed to slowing down the learning process it may actually reverse age-related cognitive decline.
In a study, researchers were able to demonstrate that cannabis was able to reverse aging in the brains of mice. They studied mice that were aged between 2, 12 and 18 months old, and each mouse was given a low dose of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which many know as the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis which is responsible for that 'high' feeling. In addition as with most other studies, they also monitored a control group on a placebo. After putting each mouse on a four-week drug regimen, they tested the memory performance and learning capacities of the mice including orientation skills and their ability to recognise other mice.
The end results were that the mice dosed with THC actually demonstrated cognitive functioning similar to that of the two-month-old mice. Whilst the mice in the placebo group displayed memory loss and decline in learning abilities appropriate for their age.
The researchers examined the genetic activity and brain tissue of the mice treated with THC. and they found that the molecular signaling in these mice no longer resembled that of other mice that were the same age, but instead it was more similar to the younger mice. The research also observed an increase in nerve cells in their brains, something linked to cognitive and learning and processing speed.
Although these findings are certainly remarkable, human trials assessing the same phenomenon are yet to be started, so it is too soon to say whether the same effects translate over to us human beings.
Nevertheless, the researchers say that their findings pave the way for further research avenues assessing the possibility of low doses of THC as a remedy for various brain injuries and treatment of age-related cognitive decline