A new study shows that low doses of cannabis taken regularly can improve memory and the ability to learn. It seems like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active substance in cannabis has wonderous effects on the memory of old mice, the elderly rodents showing improved cognitive functions after receiving regular doses of the hallucinogenic substance.
Tetrahydrocannabinol Helped Old Mice Recover their Memory
THC is the psychoactive substance in cannabis, the one responsible for hallucinations, or trips as users call them. However, apart from offering short euphoric sensations to human consumers, the substance can also help old mice improve their decaying memory. If this effect can be extended to elderly individuals, low doses of cannabis could even treat initial Alzheimer or dementia symptoms.
To conduct this research, scientists administered low doses (3 mg per kg of weight) of cannabis to young, mature, and old mice every day. The dose is too low to intoxicate the rodents, but high enough to have an impact on their neurologic system. Researchers wanted to see how the brains of mice responded to this treatment.
After 4 weeks, the scientists wanted to test the mice to see if anything changed. They used three different tests: a water maze, partner recognition, and object recognition. These trials were first performed by the control animals that did not receive the low doses of THC. Like expected, the young mice outscored the mature and old mice.
After the animals received the cannabis, both the old and mature mice boosted their performance. The older mice seemed to have an improved memory. They performed as well as young mice that did not receive the drug proving that the effects of the drug were long-lasting. The boost in their performance lasted several weeks.
Cannabis Is Good for the Old, Bad for the Young
Ironically, old brains responded better to the treatment than young, developing brains. The low doses of cannabis did not show the same effect on young mice as the treatment did not improve neither memory nor learning skills when it came to young mice. Surprisingly enough, the low doses of cannabis actually declined the cognitive abilities of the small rodents.
“It seems that the young brain becomes old and the old brain becomes young,” mentioned one of the researchers, Andras Bilkei-Gorzo
Researchers mentioned that they want to study the effect of cannabis even further. They intend to start human trials as soon as possible. If this treatment works on the elderly, it could be a great first step towards finding the cure for dementia.
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