Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these aging processes in the brain.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Zimmer (left) and the North Rhine-Westphalia science minister Svenja Schulze (centre) in the lab of the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at University of Bonn.
This treatment success is the result of years of meticulous research. First of all, the scientists discovered that the brain ages much faster when mice do not possess any functional receptors for THC. These cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors are proteins to which the substances dock and thus trigger a signal chain. CB1 is also the reason for the intoxicating effect of THC in cannabis products, such as hashish or marihuana, which accumulate at the receptor.
THC imitates the effect of cannabinoids produced naturally in the body, which fulfill important functions in the brain. “With increasing age, the quantity of the cannabinoids naturally formed in the brain reduces,” says Prof. Zimmer. “When the activity of the cannabinoid system declines, we find rapid aging in the brain.”