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Study: THC from Cannabis Helps Restore Memory Loss due to Aging and Dementia

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close up of an oil made from the essential oil of the cannabis plant with buds next and around the syringe

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

A recent 2018 animal study has indicated that cannabis with THC helps restore memory loss due to aging and dementia. 

This is what many medical cannabis users and experts already know. The human cannabis experience has outpaced mainstream science considerably. But it does help create some medical cannabis scientific credibility with mainstream medicine.

The well known and often vilified cannabis compound known as THC (Δ9 aka delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound or cannabinoid that creates the euphoric “high.” 

Biased false claims that THC causes brain damage is the main reason why truly independent research is restricted from national funding in the USA unless it supports government marijuana danger claims. 

This new study, A chronic low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) restores cognitive function in old mice [1], was conducted in Germany with national funding through the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). 

As it has occurred in the past, University of Bonn, Germany cannabis researchers collaborated with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, a nation that uses THC medical marijuana clinically for patients of all ages. It was published online by Nature Medicine 8, May 2018.

How This 2018 Study [1] was Done and What is Revealed

Mice with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) were put through physical testing that demonstrated their memory capacity before and after low dose THC administration. The mice were grouped according to ages of two, twelve, and eighteen months. 

The average rodent lifespan is around 24 months. Thus the 12 and 18-month mice represented the older aged spectrum of mammalian life while the mice aged two months represented mammalian youth. Mice that were not given THC were considered the control group.

The older mice that were given THC performed much better with the various physical forms of memory testing after THC than they were before administered THC.  They even performed as well as healthy young mice. However, the older mice that were not given THC lost memory. (Source) [2]

The study’s abstract explains that there is scientific literature evidence of the inherent human physiological endocannabinoid system’s relation to the body’s homeostasis capability, which decreases with age. As the endocannabinoid system weakens, so goes the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the result of the body’s internal energies and biochemicals being balanced out among various organs. Homeostasis mechanism examples include factors that balance body temperature, blood pressure, insulin and glucose, pH levels, and endocrine or hormonal balance. 

As the endocannabinoid system weakens with aging, it needs to be supplemented from without by external cannabis applications administered through oral consumption, vaping (breathing in vapors from a vaporizer), or smoking. 

There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are open to THC, and CB2 receptors are open to CBN (cannabinol) not to be confused with CBD or cannabidiol, which indirectly affects both CBN and THC receptors. 

The graphic below best illustrates both of these cannabinoid connections and what areas of the body they affect: 

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Excerpted from the study abstract:

The balance between detrimental [aging]…. processes and counteracting homeostatic mechanisms largely determines the progression of aging. There is substantial evidence suggesting that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is part of the latter system because it modulates the physiological processes underlying aging.

The activity of the ECS declines during aging as CB1 receptor expression and coupling to G proteins are reduced in the brain tissues of older animals.

Here we show that a low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reversed the age-related decline in cognitive performance of mice aged 12 and 18 months. This behavioral effect was accompanied by enhanced expression of synaptic marker proteins and increased hippocampal spine density. [The hippocampus is the memory part of the brain and spines connect neurons to synapse points of other cells.]

Thus, restoration of CB1 signaling in old individuals could be an effective strategy to treat age-related cognitive impairments. (Source) [1]

Connecting Internal Cannabinoids with External Cannabinoids is Healing 

According to Newsweek magazine online [2] and some other magazines and websites that covered this study, the study authors wrote:

Cannabis preparations and THC are used for medicinal purposes. They have an excellent safety record and do not produce adverse side-effects when administered at a low dose to older individuals.

Thus, chronic, low-dose treatment with THC or cannabis extracts could be a potential strategy to slow down or even to reverse cognitive decline in the elderly. (Emphasis added)

There are anywhere from over 60 to around 100 endogenous cannabinoids within cannabis plants that act as chemical messengers. The most prevalent are the well-known THC and CBD. 

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The “endo” prefix for endocannabinoid stands for endogenous, produced by or inherent to the body. The movement from other international regions to purposely investigate the medical virtues of marijuana was initiated by Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam who isolated THC from the marijuana plant in 1964. 

From then on, more cannabinoids were discovered and the endocannabinoid system discoveries that started in 1988 extended through the early 1990s. (Source) [5]

Scientists currently believe there are many different endocannabinoids, but the most studied and understood are 2-AG and anandamide. Other endocannabinoids include noladin ether, virodhamine, and N-arachidonyl dopamine (NADA). 

Some scientists believe the overall function of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate homeostasis.

However, besides maintaining basic functions, the endocannabinoid system also acts in response to illnesses such as cancer, neurological dysfunctions, arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. 

When the endocannabinoid system wanes or falters, it’s time to support them with exogenous cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, which contain such as anywhere from over 60 to around 100 cannabinoids in cannabis plants. (Source) [6] 

Mostly because of the taboo on getting “high” from THC, whole plant cannabis or marijuana is considered a highly dangerous controlled substance without medical merit by the United States federal government and its health agencies. 

So, even as many states and more nations are continuing to recognize marijuana’s medicinal safe qualities, getting academic research funded by governmental health agencies for the plant alone in the USA is difficult. 

But pharmaceutical companies don’t seem to be having problems getting their synthetic THC and CBD product studies on humans done.

It’s apparent that while recognizing the medical virtues of marijuana, Big Pharma wants to find a way to monopolize cannabis medicine while minimizing competition from safer and more effective natural whole cannabis plant products. See:

Medical Cannabis: The REAL Reason the Government Wants to Keep it Banned  [7]

Cannabis is Rapidly Becoming Socially Acceptable and Politically Correct Internationally

Despite the FDA, DEA, and pharmaceutical industry alliance that’s attempting to inhibit cannabis and marijuana use, it is currently sanctioned for medical purposes in 33 USA states, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, Israel, and now South Korea [8]. Some of them are also allowing marijuana for recreational use.

It has all been a rapid domino effect of regional allowances and approvals leading to a cannabis industry international economic boom [9].

Many more medical consumers, including older folks, are taking advantage of medical marijuana allowance to replace expensive pharmaceutical drugs that cause more problems than they solve. See:

Older Americans Turning to Medical Cannabis to Heal Cancer and Other Diseases [10]

Since consuming two to four tablespoons of coconut oil daily has demonstrated efficacy for improving or reversing Alzheimer’s conditions, why not combine cannabis oil, tinctures, or extracts with coconut oil? See:

Medical Cannabis Infused in Coconut Oil Maximizes Health Benefits [11]