Many people mistakenly believe that marijuana adversely affects your brain’s health. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis does cause a psychoactive effect (high) when ingested but the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) does not. It is believed that the cannabinoids, such as CBD, within the marijuana plant might optimize your brain’s health as you age.
Cannabinoids from Cannabis and the Brain’s Health
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors (CB1 and CB2 receptors). The receptors regulate a wide array of body function such as the body’s nervous system, gastrointestinal system, immune system, and endocrine functions. Interestingly, the cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant could actively bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system. Such a union allows the cannabinoids to help with numerous health problems such as pain perception and inflammation.
The Slowdown of the Endocannabinoid System
As the human ages, the body’s endocannabinoid system slows down. It is believed the slowdown has a direct effect on the brain. In an interview with Forbes, Andreas Zimmer, from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn, states “When the activity of the cannabinoid system slows down, we find rapid aging in the brain.” However, the cannabinoids found in marijuana appear to reignite the body’s endocannabinoid system to slow down aging in the brain which may prevent the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Marijuana’s THC and Brain Function
In a recent extensive study, it was found that the psychoactive cannabinoid THC restored function in the brain by reversing the aging process. The basis of the study shows that the body’s endocannabinoid system is related to aging. With the passing years, the brain produces far few endocannabinoids. The reduced production causes memory loss and decreased learning ability.
The study builds from a theory that the brain’s endocannabinoid system (home of the receptors that THC and CBD binds to) is related to cognitive aging and decline. The older we get, the more the activity in this system slows down; our brains gradually produce fewer naturally occurring endocannabinoids. The outcomes from this slowdown aren’t entirely understood, but there’s enough evidence from animal studies. “With increasing age, the quantity of the cannabinoids naturally formed in the brain reduces,” quoting Professor Andreas Zimmer, one of the study’s authors. “When the activity of the cannabinoid system declines, we find rapid aging in the brain. Models suggest that it’s tied to memory loss and decreased learning ability.”
CBD Recharges the Brain
The use of cannabis recharges the brain’s aging endocannabinoid system and is believed to effectively reduce the decline of cognitive ability. CBD also has extraordinarily strong anti-inflammatory properties and anti-analgesic powers which may help Alzheimer’s sufferers or others with cognitive age-related disorders. Many studies and research shows that CBD may reduce the plaque accumulation in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease and spur brain function.
More research is required to show the many benefits of marijuana on optimizing brain health, but so far, the results are extremely positive. If you would like to explore your options, remember that there are innumerable CBD products available online and at local stores nationwide that are derived from the hemp plant so contain no THC. In areas where medical and recreational marijuana are available, you can always explore the various strains of cannabis that contains both THC and CBD to discover which best meet your body’s unique needs.