There is one natural, unalterable process that everybody faces and it’s known as aging. Aging brings with it some problems of its own such as amnesia, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. When it comes to these types of disorders, a degeneration occurs in the brain. Dementia is caused by either the collection of poisonous waste products or stress inflammation. Research conducted by several researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Mainz found that there are some mechanisms such as medical marijuana that can repair the defective parts of the brain, which could keep it from degenerating.
What researchers did was shut off the cannabinoid 1 receptor in the knockout mice. Knockout mice are genetically engineered mice. Dementia’s rate of progression increased when the receptor was shut off. The results can be found in the most recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers also noted that the receptor has no addictive potential that generates the marijuana powerful effect. It does, however, play a significant role in degeneration of the brain because of its protective effect on the nerve cells. Marijuana’s active ingredients and natural compounds are known as endocannabinoids, which attach to the cannabinoid 1 receptor proteins. These proteins will then trigger a series of biological signals.
In the experiment, the knockout mice lost nerve cells in the brain’s central region; the region called the hippocampus is responsible for the formation and storing of information. Inflammation was also seen with the diminished learning and memory capacity. Mice that had an intact CB1 receptor had healthy nerve cells and could learn and remember things better. This might suggest that the endocannabinoid system perhaps gives off a protective mechanism that keeps the brain from aging.
Mice used in the experiment were placed into three separate categories. The first category involved mice no more than six weeks old, the second category of mice were no more than five months old and the final category of mice were no more than a year old. Each category of mice performed tasks they needed to master like locating platform in the pool. The mice then were shown the platform’s location, which was moved and the tested repeated. The idea was to learn what a rodent’s memory and learning abilities were.
Using medical marijuana to decrease the frequency of brain degeneration is a constant process that must have more research done for it to be considered useful, according to some scientists. It’s significantly important to learn what role the CB1 receptors have on protecting the brain from inflammation using signaling.