Cannabis is sparking excitement in brain research 

The problem is that a lot of the research hasn’t left the test tube

By Kieran Delamont

2019-10-04

Cannabis is sparking excitement for a lot of people who study the brain and aging.

Researchers are increasingly encouraged by the plant’s potential to protect against the onset of degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimers. The terpene linalool, for one, has been found to have some “neuroprotective” properties. Cannabis has also been effective in treating symptoms of aggressive behaviour sometimes associated with Alzheimers.

There is also some evidence to suggest cannabis can mitigate the effects of Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

On the other hand, other research indicates that long-term cannabis use can affect cognitive function and short-term memory loss. 

The problem, says Harvard professor and cannabis specialist Dr. Jordan Tishler, is that a lot of the current research hasn’t left the lab. And trials on humans are difficult to get approved.

“In the test tube, there are data to suggest that CBD and other cannabinoids may be preventing further degradation of brain function,” Tishler writes recently in The Fresh Toast. “However, there is currently no research in humans suggesting that any derivative of cannabis, including THC or CBD, is effective in treating memory loss as a result of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.” 

But there is some hope on the horizon. Researchers in the UK are currently testing a mouth spray with THC and CBD on patients living with dementia in longterm care homes.

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