Marijuana Ingredient Improves Memory in Aging Brains

Marijuana Ingredient Improves Memory in Aging Brains

Jessica Berman, VOA

The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces the “high” sought by users has been shown to reverse memory problems in aging mice. Researchers, who’ve been looking for ways to slow the effects of brain aging, hope it could have the same effect in older humans.

German and Israeli researchers showed that the memories of aging mice became nearly as sharp as those of young, two-month-old rodents when the older animals were given low doses of the marijuana compound known as THC.

“Old animals remembered as well, learned almost as well, recognized almost as well as young ones,” said neuroscientist Andras Bilkei-Gorzo of the University of Bonn. He is lead author of the study of THC’s effect on memory, published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Mice, which have a life expectancy of two years, have significant difficulty remembering and learning new things by the time they’re one year old.

Bilkei-Gorzo and his team administered low doses of THC to mice at two months, 12 months and 18 months of age.

After stopping the drug for periods ranging from seven days to one month, they put the rodents through a series of experiments testing their memories. Researchers wanted to see whether the rodents recognized mice they had been exposed to previously, and if they could find their way out of a small pool of water. Read More…