Can Cannabis Combat Age-Related Cognitive Decline?
The long-term administration of low-doses of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, ameliorates age-related learning and memory deficits in mice, researchers have observed.Sounds like my kind of research...
On the basis of this observation, the investigators plan to conduct a clinical trial to determine whether the finding applies to elderly individuals with and those without cognitive impairment, Andras Bilkei-Gorzo, PhD, of the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry, the University of Bonn, Germany, told Medscape Medical News.
Dr Bilkei-Gorzo and colleagues examined the effects of long-term, low-dose THC administration in young (2 months old), mature (12 months old), and old (18 months old) mice.
They found that THC treatment was associated with impaired behavioral performance on learning and memory tasks in young mice, but was associated with improved learning and memory in mature and old mice.
"THC treatment has practically the opposite effect in young and old animals," Dr Bilkei-Gorzo told Medscape Medical News.
"The same treatment rejuvenated old brains, whereas it made the young brains old. The reason of this phenomenon is that the activity of cannabinoid system declines in aging. In old animals, THC treatment restored the failing cannabinoid system activity, whereas it overactivated the normally functioning cannabinoid system in young animals," the researchers write.