Is this newly discovered health benefit the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” for legal marijuana in the United States?
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Will This Discovery Make Trump Legalize Marijuana?
Marijuana is now 100% legal in Canada and it is legal for medical and/or recreational use in much of the United States as well.
In Colorado, they even have marijuana-specific trash bins at the airports, so that when you leave a state where cannabis is legal, you can dispose of it appropriately.
(Make sure to check your jurisdiction before using marijuana – I don’t want anyone getting arrested for illegal marijuana use!)
You’ve probably also seen some of the hype surrounding marijuana…
It can supposedly cure all kinds of ailments and magically make your life better.
I’m always skeptical of claims like this that seem wildly exaggerated.
With all the touted health benefits of marijuana and marijuana-related substances, we should probably look at whether it ACTUALLY is good for you…
Or is it all just a bunch of hype to bring lots of money to the dispensaries?
I’ve looked at the REAL research and there is mixed reporting on this.
But marijuana DOES seem to have some health benefits – especially for aging brains.
First, let’s look at what happens in the brain as it ages and then how marijuana might help reverse the damage.
Aging and brain inflammation
Here’s something that doctors don’t talk to you about very much…
As we age, our bodies become FAR more prone to inflammation – which causes all kinds of chronic disease.
This inflammation is basically immune response run rampant.
So instead of producing needed inflammation to combat a problem and then returning to normal, the immune response becomes less regulated and produces runaway inflammation.
And this is extremely damaging.
“Since the neuronal CB1 receptors are no longer sufficiently activated, the glial cells are almost constantly in inflammatory mode. More regulatory neurons die as a result, so the immune response is less regulated and may become free-running.”
This kind of out-of-control inflammation can happen everywhere in the body, causing health issues.
But in the brain, uncontrolled inflammation can also cause age-related dementia.
“This protective mechanism has undesirable side effects; it can also cause damage to healthy brain tissue. Inflammations are therefore usually strictly controlled.”
I don’t know about you, but I intend to live as long as possible WITH a healthy brain.
That means keeping the inflammation response UNDER CONTROL and behaving the way it’s supposed to.
When this happens, the inflammatory response is helpful.
“These cells are part of the brain’s immune defense: For example, they detect and digest bacteria, but also eliminate diseased or defective nerve cells. They also use messenger substances to alert other defense cells and thus initiate a concerted campaign to protect the brain: an inflammation.”
So how do we control the inflammation response as we age?
As it turns out, it seems that marijuana could be useful.
Controlling brain inflammation with marijuana
Note: I’m not advocating that you break any laws here. Marijuana isn’t legal everywhere. So, make sure you check your local legality before trying this out.
That being said, therapy with marijuana is looking pretty promising for controlling the cascading inflammation response that occurs as we age.
That’s because the same receptor that creates the intoxicating effect of cannabis use also measures and controls the immune activity of the brain.
“The so-called CB1 receptor is responsible for the intoxicating effect of cannabis. However, it appears to act also as a kind of ‘sensor’ with which neurons measure and control the activity of certain immune cells in the brain.
It turns out that an active ingredient in cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), activates that CB1 receptor and reduces inflammation.
“Last year, the researchers from Bonn and colleagues from Israel were able to demonstrate that cannabis can reverse the aging processes in the brains of mice. This result now suggests that an anti-inflammatory effect of THC may play a role in its positive effect on the aging brain.”
Because marijuana is just becoming legal, these studies are pretty new and they are ONLY done on mice models at the moment…
And animal studies do not always translate directly to what happens in humans.
But if dementia runs in your family, then the effect of cannabis on the aging brain is something to consider.
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Cannabinoid 1 Receptor Signaling on Hippocampal GABAergic Neurons Influences Microglial Activity