We have always pictured pot smokers as young, dazed and confused, but this kind of stereotyping needs to change. For ages, marijuana has been known for causing psychoactive effects, like cognitive impairment. However, as per a recent research, it suggests that the drug might have a very different effect on older users than what is seen in young ones (as tested on mice at least!). Rather than causing memory loss and learning impairment, as seen in young people, marijuana appears to reverse the age-related deteriorations in cognitive performance of older mice.
A research on the effects of marijuana was led by Mr. Andreas Zimmer from the University of- Bonn. The researchers gave a low dose of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, which is marijuana’s primary active ingredient, to aged, mature, and young mice.
The result was: the young mice performed slightly worse in behavioral tests of learning and memory. That is, these young mice took more time to learn and determine the safe platform in a water maze; they also had a hard time in recognizing other mice they had been exposed to previously. However, what was impressive was without the THC drug, the aged and matured mice gave a worse performance on the tests even when compared to the young ones. But after receiving the drug, these mice’s performances resembled those of the young, untreated ones. Zimmer cited, “The effects were very robust, very profound.”
Experts from this field praised the study; however, they cautioned against generalizing the findings to human beings. One of the experts, who were not involved in the study, expressed her concern over an email citing, “This well-designed set of experiments shows that chronic THC pretreatment appears to restore a significant level of diminished cognitive performance in older mice, while corroborating the opposite effect among young mice. While it would be tempting to presume the relevance of these findings [extends] to aging humans…further research will be critically needed.”
The Stigma Marijuana Use Is Finally Fading
A study showed that older people are the fastest growing population of medical marijuana users. For many years, cannabis seeds was portrayed as merely an illegal drug used by hippies and drug addicts to get high. But as more and more states started legalizing use of marijuana as a medical drug, these negative stigmas are finally fading and it is being replaced with logical and scientific evidence backing the drug as an aide towards wellness and health.