In 2017, researcher Andreas Zimmer of the University of Bonn in Germany published his study titled Cannabis reverses aging process in the brain. The results of the study were published in Natural Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Zimmer and his team found that when older mice were given a low-dose cannabis treatment their memory improved to the average age of a two-month old mouse. Generally, mice memories begin to decline at the age of twelve months, according to the study.
This study gives hope to those who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and other brain-affected conditions. Cannabis is accessible in many forms which is ideal for older patients. According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s Disease affects 5.5 million Americans. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and Alzheimer’s Disease frequently leads to dementia.
Zimmer’s study took years to complete as there were multiple steps in the research process. It was determined that older mice lacked the CB1 receptors. Cannabinoids occur naturally as proteins which are essential in THC “docking” and “triggering a signal.” Zimmer assessed that during the aging process cannabinoids no longer formed in the brain.
THC imitates the effect of cannabinoids produced naturally in the body.
Zimmer reports, “The molecular signature no longer corresponded to that of old animals, but was instead very similar to that of young animals. The number of links between the nerve cells in the brain also increased again, which is an important prerequisite for learning ability.”
The research team is currently adapting the study to test on human participants.