Though latest cannabis studies show the positive effect of marijuana on the brain, there are still many misconceptions about cannabis possibly damaging the brain activity. To dispel your doubts on this issue, MJWellness has prepared a list of seven science-backed reasons why cannabis is beneficial for your brain.
Several clinical trials have investigated the impact of cannabinoids on the emotional state of Alzheimer's patients.
A double-blind study with a placebo-controlled group showed the positive results of administering cannabis to 12 patients who suffered from Alzheimer-induced dementia. After six weeks of daily treatment with 5 mg of delta 9-THC, the patient's behavior became more stable.
During another study, Israel researchers treated ten patients with medical marijuana oil and found a significant reduction in the psychological symptoms of dementia. They concluded that cannabis might be a promising treatment option for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Brain inflammation leads to many severe ailments, including Alzheimer's disease. According to Gary Wenk, Ph.D., who has been studying this condition for more than 25 years, brain inflammation begins after the age of thirty and continuously reduces the production of neurons responsible for making new memories.
Wenk is sure that smoking one joint of weed per day is enough to protect the brain from inflammation. The available findings of studies conducted on animals and humans with Alzheimer's disease show that medium chronic exposure to marijuana during mid-life significantly reduces brain inflammation that may lead to Alzheimer's disease.
Marijuana's chemical compounds are effective at preventing the diseases related to the brain and the central nervous system, scientific studies show.
A trial carried out on animal models found that CBD could potentially relieve neural inflammation in rats injected with amyloid-beta protein, which supposedly causes Alzheimer's disease.
A 2014 study conducted at the University of South Florida discovered that even low doses of THC decreased the production of amyloid-beta. Cannabis also stimulated the mitochondrial function, which improved signals and energy supply in brain cells, according to the study's author Chuanhai Cao, Ph.D.
Some scientific studies show that marijuana can reduce the toxicity in the brain and thus protect the brain cells from damage. For instance, during a cannabis-related study that investigated the high levels of iron in the brain cells of rats suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, researchers discovered that CBD protected the rapid cell death caused by iron. In another study, THC reduced the levels of glutamate that had increased in the brain cells after a traumatic brain injury.
Researchers claim that the increased toxicity in brain cells that may appear over the years leads to strokes and hearing disorders, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. However, the cannabis compounds can potentially protect an aging brain from toxic build up.
Studying the effects of cannabis on the endocannabinoid system, scientists have discovered that weed compounds can impact brain cell growth.
A marijuana-related study on lab mice showed that weed cannabinoids stimulated hippocampal neurogenesis, the growth of brain cells responsible for anxiety and depression and, at the same time, for memory and learning.
The following study carried out at the University of Saskatchewan found that a synthetic cannabinoid promoted the growth of new brain neurons in the hippocampal area and alleviated stressful feelings in laboratory rats. The researchers concluded that cannabis was the only prohibited substance that increased the growth of hippocampal neurons and acted as a natural antidepressant.
Brain injuries have severe cognitive outcomes that may result in chronic headaches, difficulties in thinking or recognition, lack of attention, or mood swings. Scientists who investigated the potential therapeutic effects of cannabis discovered that THC protected the brain from serious damage caused by traumatic injuries.
In a study carried out at Tel Aviv University, researchers provided a long-term treatment with low THC doses to rats with brain damage. The findings showed that cannabis could protect the brain from seizures, hypoxia, and toxic drugs.
These results were confirmed by another study that analyzed the condition of 446 brain trauma patients of a California hospital. The THC-positive patients were 80% less likely to die from their injuries than those who had not consumed cannabis previously. Though this study did not show a direct link between marijuana use and survival after brain injuries, it provided evidence that cannabinoids were beneficial for post-traumatic recovery.
Strokes are not less harmful to people than traumatic brain injuries as they can lead to brain cell death and paralysis. However, only recently researchers have begun to understand how the endocannabinoid system works during strokes. The function of CB receptors changes when a stroke happens, which may lead to unregulated glutamate release. However, both THC and CBD can block the excessive production of the neurotransmitter glutamate and prevent the death of brain cells.
A study found that CBD had long-lasting protective effects on the brain cells damaged in the result of cerebral ischemia. After several days of treatment with CBD, patients with post-ischemic trauma experienced an improvement of motor coordination. An animal-based study showed that marijuana had a protective impact on neuronal death caused by ischemia stroke. These findings stand in contrast to the popular belief that marijuana damages brain cells.
Though many questions are still unanswered, cannabis scientists hope that these theories will be confirmed by the results of clinical trials and eventually improve the lives of numerous patients.