To continue our series in which we discuss a new study daily, today we will look at the cannabinoid THC as it pertains to brain health. It’s thought that overtime, a weakened endocannabinoid system and a reduction in cannabinoid receptors may contribute to a decline in brain health and cognition. Now, in a 2017 study that was published in Nature Medicine, a research team in Germany found they could prevent cognitive decline in mice by regularly activating CB1 receptors with low doses of THC. Researchers gave low doses of THC to both young and old mice for 28 days, and then tested the subjects’ learning, memory, and cognitive flexibility. Young mice who received the cannabinoid were impaired in their performance. On the other hand, the older mice who received THC were instead performing at a comparable level to the young mice who were were not treated with the cannabinoid. Older mice would usually perform poorly on these tests. Researchers found THC manipulated the patterns to which certain genes are expressed, and increased the number of brain connections that were created in the hippocampus, an area important in learning, memory regulation, stress and anxiety.
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