Low-dose marijuana compound may help reverse memory loss, treat dementia | fitness | Hindustan Times
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Low-dose marijuana compound may help reverse memory loss, treat dementia

According to a study, low-dose treatment with marijuana can help reverse memory loss, improve cognitive skills, slow brain ageing and treat dementia.

fitness Updated: May 10, 2017 13:17 IST
Marijuana in small doses can help deal with memory loss, slow brain ageing and treat dementia.
Marijuana in small doses can help deal with memory loss, slow brain ageing and treat dementia.

Prolonged low-dose treatment with a marijuana (gaanja in Hindi) compound may help reverse memory loss and improve cognitive skills, a finding that could pave the way for slowing brain ageing or treating dementia in humans, researchers say.

According to the study, the brain ages much faster when mice do not possess any functional receptors for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC -- the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.

However, treatment with THC imitates the effect of cannabinoids produced naturally in the body, which fulfil important functions in the brain.

“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,” said Andreas Zimmer, professor at the University of Bonn in Germany.

In the study, the researchers administered a small quantity of THC to mice aged two, 12 and 18 months over a period of four weeks.

Marijuana also helps improve cognitive skills. (Shutterstock)

The results revealed that the cognitive functions of the older mice were just as good as the two-month-old mice.

“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals. It looked as though the THC treatment turned back the molecular clock,” Zimmer said.

As a next step, the researchers want to conduct a clinical trial to investigate whether THC also reverses ageing processes in the brain in humans and can increase cognitive ability.

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