There is limited research on the effects of cannabis on the human body. Most of the time, the studies are conducted on animals. However, from the little bits we already know, it is evident that the herb impacts us differently as we age.
Have you ever wondered why marijuana research is sometimes so contradictory? It appears that depending on the age of the subject, some main components of the plant influence people differently. Let us look at the impact marijuana has on us at various stages of our life.
Though there are many restrictions and nuances, cannabis can be used to treat different conditions among children. At the same time, recreational use of cannabis by children is strictly forbidden. Moreover, the herb consumed early in life can lead to attention and memory problems later on. However, certain compounds of the plant have proven to be useful.
Unfortunately, the research on marijuana in pediatrics is very limited. The long-term effects are not properly studied. In clinical trials, two compounds of the plant showed positive results—cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC). Both of them have little to no side effects.
Among the most widely treated children diseases is epilepsy. Thus, kids consume CBD in the form of a pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex. Delta-8-THC was also tested in a study conducted on a small group of children aged 3 to 13. The drug was confirmed as the new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology as it reduced chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea. All children reported positive effects.
The main benefit and safety measure of using exactly these cannabinoids is the fact that they do not cause the usual “high” associated with marijuana use.
Just like small children, teens are forbidden to use the herb for recreational purposes. Uncontrolled consumption may lead to numerous problems in the bodies that are still developing. In addition, it is believed that adolescents experience a longer high than adults. A notable neuroscientist Dr. Jensen explains that a teen's brain is more receptive. In addition, there are more places for THC to land and stay longer.
Another danger for adolescents hides in their impulsiveness and addictive behavior. Their brains create new connections and behaviors faster, meaning that they are likely to develop a long-term cannabis habit.
That being said, we cannot state that cannabis is completely damaging for teens. Still, there are many conditions that can be and are successfully treated with certain compounds of the plant. In general, the list remains the same as in pediatrics.
Adults have the most freedom in the matter of marijuana consumption. In some places, they can legally buy pot even for recreational use. In many states, medical cannabis is becoming more and more popular. Though there are still not many studies on marijuana that can cover every effect of the plant, much research has been done already. The anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidepressant, and many other properties of the plant can deal with numerous diseases.
Mostly, adults are treated with the help of CBD, which has the widest range of benefits among the compounds. However, THC, the one that mostly makes us high, can also reduce headaches, stress, and depression.
One of the most interesting effects of marijuana on adults is the way it interacts with our brain. In fact, this organ continues to develop until we are 25. Then, the process of brain aging begins. Can this plant be a solution against old age?
A 2007 rodent study showed that THC successfully reduced brain inflammation and improved memory. Thus, the scientists concluded that cannabis could be used as a preventive measure for degenerative aging.
One of the latest studies of the cannabis world was published in May 2017. The research found evidence that marijuana compounds could slow down the aging of our brain. The experiment was conducted on rodents. Young and old mice were given low doses of THC for a month. While the compound caused memory and learning decline among young rodents, the older ones showed positive results. In addition, the study revealed some genetic changes caused by the THC treatment. Older animals switched on the genes that promoted plasticity and learning. The genes responsible for the mental decline were switched off. This study shows promising results that can be relevant to humans.
Cannabis research is in its infancy today. However, it is already clear that the herb is getting more useful for us as we age. According to the recent studies, the elderly can get the most benefits from the cannabis treatment.