Marijuana appears to improve the memory and learning abilities of old mice. Scientists discovered low doses of its main psychoactive ingredient—cannabinoid THC—can reverse the age-related decline in cognitive abilities, a finding that could lead to scientists figuring out a way of slowing brain aging in humans.
Researchers are increasingly examining THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) for its potential medical benefits. In the U.K., Oxford University recently launched a £10 million ($13 million) program to “identify new medical therapies through research into the molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms of cannabinoids.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now approved several medications derived from THC.
Many scientists are currently looking at its potential use as a treatment for neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
In a study published in Nature Medicine on Monday, researchers led by Andreas Zimmer, from the University of Bonn, Germany, have shown how THC can provide significant benefits to mice when it comes to age-related cognitive decline.