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Medical Marijuana Research Provides Several Clues Into How Brain Degeneration Can Be Slowed Down

Aging... it's a natural process that can't be turned back. And, because of that inability, it brings with it many debilitating problems such as dementia, an erosion of the brain that tends to occur for two reasons: stress irritations and a buildup of toxic waste products. Universities of Bonn and Mainz researchers conducted experiments on mice and found out that there are certain mechanisms that can repair the defective parts of the brain, keeping it from deteriorating. One such possibility is using medical marijuana to keep a brain from degenerating.

Researchers shut down the cannabinoid 1 receptor in the knockout mice, which were genetically engineered. Shutting down the CB1 receptor quickened the progression rate of dementia especially compared to the finding of the control group, which you can see in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences issue. The researchers also said the receptor doesn't have an addictive possibility to produce the intoxication-like effects seen with marijuana or medical marijuana. It does have a key role in brain deterioration because of its shielding effect on the nerve cells. Marijuana's natural components and active ingredients are called endocannabinoids that fasten to the receptor proteins and activate a succession of biological signals.

What was found in the research was that nerve cells of the brain's central area were lost in the knockout mice. The central area is what's responsible for the development and keeping of information known as the hippocampus. Besides the diminished learning and memory capacity, inflammation within the brain was also experienced. Mice with an intact CB1 receptor had healthy nerve cells and had better memory and learning capabilities. This signifies that the body's endocannabinoid system offers a defensive tool that keeps aging from occurring in the human brain.

There were three age categories the mice were divided into. The first group of mice was six weeks old, the second group of mice was about five months old and the third group of mice was roughly a year old. Each group of mice was given tasks that they had to master such as finding a platform in water. After the mice were shown the location, the platform was moved to another location and the test repeated. The goal of the test was to find out what kind of memory and learning ability mice have.

According to scientists, applying medical marijuana to decrease the brain degeneration rate is a recurring process that demands more research. It's very important to comprehend CB1 receptors' role to keep the brain from becoming inflamed using signaling.

By: Mercy M. James