Alzheimer’s disease is a cruel, chronic neurodegenerative disease that cruelly robs many elderly people of precious memories in their golden years.
40 percent of former NFL players suffer from brain injuries/chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease due to repeated concussions and brain trauma, resulting in memory loss, dementia, deafness, vertigo, and increased suicide rates.
If only there was some sort of healthy, safe medicine that can possibly slow down brain degeneration, or protect and even grow back brain cells (neurogenesis). Oh, wait, there is. Cannabinoids!
Recently, scientific studies at the US National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) have proven that cannabinoids are neuroprotective, particularly against brain cells damaged by alcohol, by up to 60%.
According to NORML.org, “Emerging evidence also indicates that cannabinoids may play a role in slowing the progression of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's Disease). Recent animal studies have shown cannabinoids to delay disease progression and inhibit neurodegeneration in mouse models of ALS, Parkinson's, and MS.”
In a German study on mice, “low, regular doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, may help to keep our brains from slowing down as we get older.”
By now, you might be thinking of the perpetually stoned guy whose brain cells have been wrecked by heavy usage of marijuana.
According to the American Journal of Addictions, long-term usage of marijuana had only a minimal effect on cognition and memory. Harvard Medical School performed MRI’s on the brains of 22 long-term cannabis users showed “no significant differences” between people who heavily smoked marijuana, and those who have never smoked.
So cannabinoids have been shown to have a minimal negative effect on memory, and can delay neurodegenerative diseases, but can it grow back brain cells?
Canadian researcher Xia Zhang used a synthetic version of THC found in medical marijuana to promote neurogenesis in lab animals. Zhang also discovered that symptoms of anxiety and depression were reduced!
So even though neurogenesis studies are still in the early stages, early studies that cannabinoids can improve memory or symptoms of mood disorders are promising.
Let’s get on it, America!