With every passing year our brains tend to get a little less sharp, because like every other organ in the body, our brain ages over time.
This decreases memory performance and cognitive ability, meaning it takes that little bit longer to do the crossword.
But now scientists have discovered that cannabis is capable of reversing this process in the brains of mice, seeing them regress to the cerebral state of two-month-old animals.
Professor Andreas Zimmer, said: “The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals. It looked as though the THC treatment turned back the molecular clock.”
A low dose treatment (at non-intoxicating levels) was given to the older rodents, at twelve and eighteen-months-old, which is old given their life span relative to humans.
And this treatment saw their grey matter effectively made ‘younger’ again.
The researchers at the University of Bonn and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem administered a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant over a period of time.
They then tested learning capacity and memory performance in the animals – including, orientation skills and found that capabilities had increased.
Whereas mice who were only given a placebo, displayed natural age-dependent learning and memory losses.
They also discovered that the brain ages much faster when mice do not possess any functional receptors for THC, proteins to which the substances dock.
The next step is a clinical trial in humans, with the hope that these findings could be used to treat dementia in the future.
The health benefits of cannabis are still disputed, back in November, a study found that cannabis users are twice as likely to suffer from “Broken Heart Syndrome”, a rare condition which mimics heart attack symptoms.
The syndrome, also known as stress cardiomyopathy, is a sudden, usually temporary weakening of the heart muscle.
It reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood, leading to chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and sometimes fainting.