Researchers have come up with an unusual proposal to slow, or even reverse, the cognitive decline that comes with old age: small, daily doses of cannabis extract.
The idea emerged from tests on mice which found that regular, low doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – impaired memory and learning in young animals, but boosted the performance of old ones.
The discovery has raised hopes for a treatment that improves brain function in old age.
“If we can rejuvenate the brain so that everybody gets five to 10 more years without needing extra care then that is more than we could have imagined.
These results reveal a profound, long-lasting improvement of cognitive performance resulting from a low dose of THC treatment in mature and old animals. The boost in brain function was linked to an apparent restoration of gene expression in the brain to more youthful levels.”
Andras Bilkei-Gorzo, Bonn University