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Using THC to Regenerate Brain Cells and Restore Cognitive Youth

thc brain
Written by Alexandra Hicks

Everyone knows that using cannabis as a teenager can slow you down a little bit, mentally. Not permanently of course, but it can be difficult for young people to focus and retain information when they’re stoned. However, the exact opposite is true for the older generations.

Yep, you read that correctly; cannabis can actually make elderly people sharper, help them focus better, and improve their memory! That’s the inference drawn from a study by a German-Israeli research team who ran a series of THC tests on elderly mice. Not only did the older mice perform as well as the young, sober mice, but their brain tissue physically changed and showed traits of cognitive youth following THC administration.

How it works 

To determine the brain cell regeneration powers of THC, researchers from Bonn University in Germany and Hebrew University in Jerusalem joined forces to perform a series of three different tests on mice.

In the first test, the mice were put through different mazes to measure their memory. Only the older mice who were being treated with THC successfully completed the test. The old sober mice and the young stoned mice both did poorly.

thc brain

Older rats did very well with THC treatments

Object location was the objective of the second exercise. Using a small lego piece, researchers observed whether or not the mice could locate it once it had been moved multiple times. The elderly mice under the influence of THC, along with the young, sober mice, were able to easily locate the lego piece no matter where it was. The older mice who hadn’t received THC therapy struggled to find the object.

“In the object location recognition test we used three identical Lego figures. We changed the position of one figure in the second trial. [Mice] that remembered the original positions spent more time investigating the object in the new position. Preference for the object in a new position (novelty preference) is an indicator that animals have recognized the repositioning of the object.” Andras Bilkei-Gorzo, Institute of Molecular Psychology at Bonn University.

The third and final trial was a partner recognition task, which was tested over the course of 24 hours to see if the mice still remember their partners after a full day. As expected, the two-month-old, sober mice and the elderly stoned mice were almost instantly drawn to their previous day’s partner.

Final conclusion, in every test performed, the older mice undergoing THC treatment surpassed their sober counterparts of similar age.

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System 

The endocannabinoid system is a group of cannabinoid receptors located in various parts of the body such as the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. The specific functions of the endocannabinoid system vary based on which part of the body you’re looking at, but overall, it exists for the purpose of homeostasis.

Homeostasis is a state of consistent equilibrium between the interdependent parts of our bodies, which elevates our overall physical well-being. This is the exact reason cannabis medications are so effective.

The next step for this German-Israeli research team is to conduct a clinical trial on humans to determine how helpful cannabis would be in treating dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive afflictions. 

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About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Managing editor at Cannadelics and U.S based journalist, helping spread the word about the many benefits of using cannabis and psychedelics.