Marijuana and the aging brain ~ implications for ME

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Rafiki, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Small doses of marijuana improve the function of aging brains, scientists

    A toke a day keeps memory loss at bay
    From Thursday's Globe and Mail
    November 20, 2008 at 4:20 AM EST

    Turns out a few dances with Mary Jane can do wonders for an aging brain.

    Yes, a daily toke in later-middle and old age can help slow memory loss, or the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple
    sclerosis, a new study suggests.

    It's a pre-emptive strike, one not effective at reversing previous memory
    loss. But aging boomers still shouldn't go overboard, researchers say. In
    tests on lab rats, all it took was the equivalent of one human puff.

    "We are not trying to make anyone high," said Gary Wenk, professor of
    psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University. "We are trying to
    tease out the positive aspects of this plant."

    The benefit was found in a synthetic compound identical to
    tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana, which researchers say activated areas of aged brains in rats affected by memory loss, and stimulated the formation of new brain cells.

    Prof. Wenk, who presented the research in Washington, yesterday at the
    annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, was motivated to look into the effects of marijuana on aging brains after repeatedly noticing the drug mentioned on the blogs of patients with MS who use it to curb pain. Memory impairment is connected to such chronic brain inflammation.

    "There was discussion of smoking a little pot to reduce inflammation, which makes their disease less painful," Prof. Wenk said.

    Pot is popular among older sufferers, because conventional
    anti-inflammatory medications are not effective in older brains.

    "Millions of people have used this plant for thousands of years," Prof. Wenk said. "There is a lot of evidence that there are some interesting things going on in the brains of these people."

    So, while testing with rats, researchers used a THC-like drug, called
    WIN-55212-2, to activate receptors in the brain's endocannabinoid system - usually stimulated by smoking marijuana - which involves memory, appetite, mood and pain response.

    After three weeks, the rats were given a memory test where they were placed in a small swimming pool to determine how well they used visual cues to find a platform hidden under the surface of the water.

    The treated rats were given enough of the drug to boost brain cells, though not enough to get high, and did better in the swimming-pool test than the control - strait-laced rats without THC - in learning and remembering how to find the hidden platform.

    "Old rats are not very good at that task," said Yannick Marchalant,
    co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State. "When we gave them the drug, it made them a little better at that task."

    They also experienced reduced inflammation and growth of new brain cells.

    The researchers hope their findings could lead to the development of a drug to stave off memory loss in people with a history of degenerative disease in their families.

    "The model could be used for anyone at risk," Prof. Marchalant said.
    "Perhaps 20 years before the usual onset of the decline in memory."

    Cannabis joins a long list of taboo substances now shown to reduce brain
    inflammation. Nicotine, alcohol and caffeine have also been shown to do so, possibly leading to reduced memory loss later in life.

    "What is it about coffee, what is it about smoking and what is it about
    marijuana that is causing us to see these effects?" Prof. Wenk asked.
    "Different compounds that may be bad for one part of the brain may be good for another."

    Heather Sokoloff is a writer in Montreal.

    [This Message was Edited on 11/21/2008]
  2. tandy

    tandy New Member

    maybe woodstockers will have the added benifits later in life?

    It does help pain for sure.
    maybe it acts like a muscle relaxer. ???
  3. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Very interesting article. Especially for we baby boomers.

    I think that it depends on the state you live in, no not the state of pain and exhaustion, as to whether it is legal or not for doctors to prescribe ????, the pill form of marijuana in the United States. I will see my BIL this next week and ask him if he prescribes this for his Cancer patients.

    I had no idea that marijuana helps with inflammation.

    A funny aside and to bump this article, when my younger daughter was 16, she wanted to go to the second Woodstock festival. I told her that I did not get to go to Woodstock when I was her age, so she could not either. Somehow, she did find the humor in my statement!!

    However, she did find it interesting that Woodstock was not famous until after the event.

    What are the laws in Canada? Other countries?

    Where if Woody Harellson, when we need him?

    Take care.


    I did not mean to downplay the important implications of this article. I could not stop myself as my right brain had a coup and overthrew my brain. gap

    [This Message was Edited on 11/21/2008]
  4. jmq

    jmq New Member

    I was looking for a good reason to start up again! Too bad it is still illegal.

    Thanks for the interesting article.
  5. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    definitely take mj in tablet form BUT smoking dope made me really paranoid eventually and I just wouldnt risk that again.

    I know lots of people who smoked for years and then became paranoid with it and nowadays with the stuff they make, super-strong psychotic stuff, I just wouldnt risk it.

    So hopefully they'll put it on prescription at some point.

  6. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    I think it's outrageous that it's still illegal and that even tho some places you can get an rx, it's still difficult for people to get it.

    I'm definitely a believer in MJ and it's possitive effects for various ills. I partake in the occassional "2 puffs" in the evening before bed. Helps with sleep, anxiety, muscle relaxing, and opens up my thought processes. Parts of my brain start working again that are otherwise shut down without it. Hard to explain, but it's not just from the high.

    If you look at all of the legal rx meds, side effects, etc .........why not make a natural plant form of a med legal? Crazy. I have a friend w breast cancer that swears by it for chemo side effects.
  7. Sun_Rae

    Sun_Rae New Member

    I'll admit, pre CFS, I partook quite a bit. Post-CFS, I couldn't take a hit without my heart racing a million miles an hour, and with that wanting to pass out. It was insane, but then again any stimulant drove my heart into the 130-140's . So, even if I wanted to ease something, I'm stuck with chamomile, valerian, etc. Oh joy.. What a cruel twist to life sometimes.
  8. Nimzovich76

    Nimzovich76 New Member

    In another study in Canada it was shown that MJ increases neurogenesis in the hippocampus (which is involved with memory but as well with depression/anxiety). Ironically MJ impairs short term memory while "high" but it seems that it actually improves memory capacity in the long run.
  9. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I do think it should be legalized.... but have heard the whole herb is often better than what's in a pill. I can believe that, as my MIL did better with Armour Thyroid (derived from bovine thyroid gland) and didn't get any efffect from the synthetic version, Synthroid.

    Interesting also because I've known habitual smokers who did finally give it up and reported they felt better overall after a year or so. But I'm guessing of course that it means there's an optimal dose for each of us, just like with alcohol.

    My problem would be, if I ever felt the need for it, I'd hate to smoke it. Way too harsh on my lungs for starters (I was once asked how long it had been since I quit smoking cigarettes, and I've never smoked any - but I did live my first 26 years in highly polluted Chicago & area plus in a house of smokers)... guess I'd have to make brownies?

    -- and I'm one it never 'affected' - except for not being able to speak a sentence in proper order. Oddly my DH reported the same, and so did our daughter. Must be genetics?!

    all the best,

  10. FMsaddenedspirit

    FMsaddenedspirit New Member

    Yes, ...Marijuana has been proven to be a benefit for lots of things... I know in AZ it is legal in pill form for HIV , Cancer patents and probley more If I did the research ..

    it can help with Nausea , appetite, anxiety , pain, reduce inflammation , muscle relaxer and much more.

    I remember my Grandmother going through Kimo Therapy and radiation treatments..... her Doctor actually advised one of my relatives that Marijuana might help with her systems... now this was my grandmother.. I doubt she ever used it but the Doctor still advised

    I personally have had one Doctor tell me it might be a benefit for me for Nausea , appetite , anxiety while going through a treatment using Interferon , ( same side affects as Kimo Therapy for those that don't know what it is )

    I to am glad you posted this ,, if only for awareness ...

    My best wishes for all....
  11. springrose22

    springrose22 New Member

    It definitely helps with pain at the end of the day, and helps hugely with sleep. Marie
  12. msbsgblue

    msbsgblue Member

    Both having FM/CFS and arthritis have discussed it. We would surely try it but I would not know the first place to ask to buy any and if I did with my luck I would get caught. I know this is a high traffic city for it but I am clueless.
  13. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    You can try attending an Americans for Safe Access meeting near you by contacting NORML, (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) I believe most cities have chapters. You can look them up online. Someone there may be able to help you find out if it works for you. I think if you're discreet and only use it in your own home you shouldn't have any legal problems with it.

    [This Message was Edited on 11/30/2008]