According to a recent study, cannabis can reverse ageing process in the brain.
The study, carried out by scientists at the University of Bonn and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says cannabis can fight the decreasing memory performance that comes with ageing.
To arrive at the conclusion, researchers administered a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, to mice aged two, twelve and 18 months over a period of four weeks.
They subsequently tested learning capacity and memory performance in the animals such as orientation skills and the recognition of other mice.
Mice who were only given a placebo displayed natural age-dependent learning and memory losses while the cognitive functions of the animals treated with cannabis were as good as the two-month-old control animals.
“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” says Andreas Zimmer, the study’s lead author.
“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 ageing in the brain.”
In a bid to understand the effect the THC treatment has in old mice, the researchers examined the brain tissue and gene activity of the treated mice.
They found that the molecular signature no longer corresponded to that of old animals, but was instead very similar to that of young animals.
“It looked as though the THC treatment turned back the molecular clock,” says Zimmer.
The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.
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