Medical Marijuana

Maureen Meehan wrote an interesting article about a new marijuana study showing the benefits of cannabis. The University of Colorado Boulder did the study examining the effects of cannabis use in adults aged 60 to 88 with no history of alcohol or other substance use disorder. Results suggest that the use of whole-plant cannabis may have a positive impact on cognition. Older cannabis users have significantly greater neuronal communication between the cerebellum and hippocampus.

During normal aging, the decline in cannabinoid receptors correlates with increased levels of inflammation in these brain regions causing a loss of neurons in the hippocampus, which is critical for learning and memory. This, in short, explains age-related memory impairment. Low-dose, daily cannabis use after age 55 might effectively reduce the degenerative effects of chronic brain inflammation.

Prior studies confirm improved memory, decreased brain inflammation and increased hippocampal neurogenesis in older brains after the daily stimulation of cannabinoid receptors.

“The potential benefits are important given that the cerebellum and hippocampus are highly vulnerable to the effects of aging. The hippocampus is stable until around age 50, at which point the hippocampus undergoes a rapid period of atrophy.”

–Dr. Gary Wenk in Psychology Today.