A growing body of scientific evidence supports what many cannabis users already suspect: certain chemical compounds known a cannabinoids, which are found in abundance in the cannabis plant, have a wide range of positive effects on human health. A series of recent studies show that cannabis compounds may play an important role in slowing the aging process throughout the body, especially in the brain.
Dr. Michele Ross, a neuroscientist and former drug researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, believes that cannabis is a key that can unlock the benefits of preventative medicine. “It helps protect your DNA from damage so, it can actually slow down the aging process,” Ross stated.
Dr. Ross, now a fierce cannabis advocate who was once afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), takes cannabis oil every day. “I had wrinkles before and now my skin looks better,“ she said. “My memory used to be really horrible – it was shot after the PTSD. But I’m 32 and it’s working better than when I was 26.”
Emerging research continues to reveal the unique effects cannabinoids have in protecting and promoting proper brain function. The human brain contains an extensive network of specialized neural receptor sites, now known as the Cannabinoid System, that help regulate blood pressure, appetite, bone mass, motor coordination and reproduction, and even control anxiety.
However, this system only works when cannabinoids, either manufactured by the body (endocannabinoids) or supplemented by consuming cannabinoid-rich substances such as cannabis (phytocannabinoids), are present to activate the receptors.
Studies show that a younger body produces more endocannabinoids than an older body. This may help explain why phytocannabinoids consumed by older people seem to slow the aging process, reduce or even reverse some of the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, and improve the brain’s cognitive functions.
A German study, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, determined that cannabinoids play a significant role in reducing brain inflammation, a major cause of cognitive decline, neural failure and brain degeneration during the aging process.
Gary Wenk, a professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University, contributed to the study. “Up until a few years ago, we weren’t even aware that inflammation developed in the brain,” Wenk said. “Now we see that it’s in the background of a lot of diseases. Cannabinoids are the first and only class of drugs that have ever been effective in reducing brain inflammation.”
The study also found that the brain’s Cannabinoid System not only removes damaged brain cells from the body, but also triggers neurogenesis – the production of new brain cells.
“I’m incredibly excited about it because this is the first time we’ve ever had a compound that actually works in the old brain,” Wenk continued. “If you’re in your 60s or 70s and you’re having some problems with mental decline, we might have a mechanism that can target that. This is just the beginning of what we think we’ll uncover as we continue to investigate this line of research.”
Some maintain that cannabis should be considered a “superfood.” Like certain nutrients, cannabinoids act as antioxidants in the brain and may actually help prevent and reverse all sorts of chronic health conditions that result from a deficiency of these important compounds.
“I think everyone should use cannabis oil,” Ross declared. “We’re still taking baby steps to teach the public about it and how to embrace it. You should learn about it. You shouldn’t be afraid. I’m dedicating my life to helping other people understand that.”
If you’re ready to experience the benefits of medical marijuana, contact your cannabis retailer in Portland for more information. We’ll help you determine which type of cannabis product and strain are best for your needs!