Cannabis Could Improve the Memory of Older People

Cannabis Could Improve the Memory of Older People

Researchers from Germany and Israel are trying to understand if cannabis can improve brain function once endocannabinoid activity is increased by cannabis administration.

For this study, Lead Researcher Andreas Zimmer and his team have had three categories of mice. The first group was two months old and the second group was twelve months old. The third group was eighteen months old. These three groups represented both young, mature and old.

In every age group, the mice either received a placebo or had an implant that slowly released THC into the blood. This was done consistently for 28 days, after which several days could pass without THC. This period of abstinence was known as the washout period.

Besides, all mice( either THC or placebo) participated in memory and behavioural tests. For example, one activity involved testing whether other mice were exposed to before they received placebo or THC by mice.

Another test required the subject mouse to find a safe platform in a water pool. The time spent during this activity for all mice in the study was recorded.

The study results were eye-opening. For example, young mice( the two- month- old group) showed a deterioration in memory after they received THC. On the other hand, mature mice( 12 months old) showed an improvement in their mind. How could it be?

The researchers studied the brain structures of these mature mice and found that the brains were suddenly young( like the two- month- old mice). In particular, the hippocampus has acquired new synaptic spines, a sign that brain neurons can now communicate with each other more efficiently and thus increase brain activity.

In other words, the THC rewrote genetic programming of the mature mice's brains. The researchers used the elimination method to reduce any other factor that could lead to improved brain function, and the result was that THC reversed the ageing of the brain cells.

What does this mean for people? The work carried out by Zimmer, and his team shows that older people are likely to see improvements in brain function when they use cannabis. This is not a certainty, however, until human trials are completed and documented. The good news is that Zimmer has already secured funding to investigate the impact of THC on human memory function.