Marijuana may soon become a prescription drug instead of a recreational one, as more and more real health benefits are discovered and recognized.
Marijuana as the recreational drug derived from the cannabis plant is already legal in 8 American states, and is widely used for medicinal purposes, namely pain relief, in 19. New studies suggest, however, that this popular drug has a much greater potential.
Recent research conducted at the University of Bonn, Germany, found that THC, the main psychoactive agent of cannabis, can help heal aging brains. What this means is that the drug could potentially help older individuals recover from age-related memory loss and cognitive impairment.
The study was performed on three groups of mice, which represented young, aging and senior animals. The mice were subjected to several experiments – first in their natural state and then after being treated with THC – in order for researchers to understand whether the drug could have any effect on brains of different ages.
One of the experiments, for instance, was to see how mice from different groups go through a water maze. In the first round, the younger mice performed better than their aging and senior counterparts, but the scenario was actually reversed after the THC treatment was administered. The younger mice had a little decline in their skill, while the aging and older mice actually performed tangibly better than they previously had.
This experiment proves once again that marijuana does have a negative effect on developing brains, an argument that had previously been made and backed by published research. It does, however, also suggest that marijuana may have a positive, even healing effect on aging brains, allowing older individuals to recover from age-related memory loss and regain certain cognitive abilities.
It is important to note, of course, that this research was only performed on mice models under very specific circumstances, and the hypothesis brought forward still lacks verification from human trials. If verified though, this research could bring new hope for Alzheimer’s disease patients and other degenerative neurological disease sufferers.
The nature of such diseases and the close link that appears to exist between age and the brain’s reaction to THC are two factors which unfortunately could make human trials difficult. This is because the human life expectancy is much more extensive than that of mice, making it hard to determine the correct time period and periodicity for these medications to be administered.