As use of marijuana becomes more accepted across the United States and the globe, researchers are beginning to delve deeper into the affect of cannabis on human health. They are actually starting to see cannabis can help your brain.
One of the more interesting areas of research in recent years has been in neuroscience, specifically how cannabis impacts the brain.
While the research in some cases is not conclusive, study after study is showing that marijuana can help brain functions in a variety of interesting ways. They include the following.
Cannabis Can Help Your Brain: Promoting Cell Growth
Your brain never actually stops growing, as new cells are created every day (and elsewhere throughout the body, too). In the brain, such growth is called neurogenesis.
A study out of Italy found that a chemical within medical marijuana – called cannbuchromene – actually stimulates faster brain cell growth and promotes neurogenesis. Also, a study published in the International Journal of Neuropharmacology found that cannabidiol promotes new cell growth in the hippocampus area of the brain, which is associated with memory and navigation. This could help lower the chance of people developing Alzheimer’s and depression.
Stress is behind some of the worst medical conditions that people suffer, from chronic pain to more serious issues such as heart attacks and strokes. It also leads to higher levels of anxiety and sometimes depression. According to a study by professors at the University of Haifa in Israel, marijuana can protect a person from stress and help prevent some of the psychological disorders caused by too much stress.
Fighting Brain Cancer
In 2014, researchers at the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, discovered that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, actually killed cancer cells in the brains of mice injected with human cancer cells. They also found it does not affect normal cells.
“There have been previous reports to this effect as well,” Dr. John S. Yu, co-director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told ABC News. “So this is yet another indication that THC has an anti-cancer effect, which means it’s certainly worth further study.”
Reversing Brain Aging
Turns out that marijuana, despite not exactly being revered for enhancing memory, can possibly reverse the effects of aging on the brain, according to a study published in the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.”
Andras Bilkei-Gorzo, a professor at the University of Bonn in Germany and an author on the study, wrote that “[C]annabinoid system activity is neuroprotective.” He added that increasing it “could be a promising strategy for slowing down the progression of brain aging and for alleviating the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders,” according to Time magazine.
One of those disorders is potentially Alzheimer’s, according to Time.
These are just some of the ways cannabis can help your brain and have a positive impact on human health, a list that is expected to grow as more research is conducted in the future.