Some of the brightest scientists on the planet have turned their attention towards cannabinoid research. Cannabis is a fascinating plant that many have dedicated their careers to learning more about. Our hope is that the research-based information will light the way for expanding alternative health treatments. Despite the fact that some doctors will not prescribe without more available research, we are seeing the effects on our doctors’ patients every single day. The sentence “it has changed my life” is one that never gets boring at Natural Health Services, and it’s one we hear on a regular basis. It’s one of the reasons we love our jobs!

The golden standard double blind placebo human trials still need more funding, which might come with a change in the scheduling of the ‘drug’ (currently considered Schedule 1 in the states and Schedule 2 in Canada). Still, slowly things are being researched in ways that support what we have known anecdotally for thousands of years. Cannabis is a healing plant when used with intelligence. This, in our view, means micro-dosing, and tracking unique and individual effects by honing self-awareness.

Education is a huge part of our mandate at Natural Health Services. Our doctors believe in a harm reduction approach and our team believes that the more the patient knows, the more they can play the most important role in their own healing and maintenance. This is why we have the (virtual and in-person) interactive Tuesdays free education events, the weekly blog and NHS’ own weekly ‘The Cannabis Show.’

It’s why our call center and our education center are staffed with compassionate, informed individuals. We want you to take full advantage of the information available to you so you will never be at a loss as to how to approach the medicinal advantages of THC and/or CBD.

Let’s zone in on one of the areas that is getting a lot of attention these days.  How Cannabis affects the aging brain. Local scientist, Dr. Matt Hill spoke of a recently published peer review study which showed that low dose THC in aging may be able to prevent cognitive decline (while in younger animals it was found to produce memory impairment).

Studies are supporting that cannabinoids, at low doses, may be a new type of treatment to try to retard the brain’s aging process by reducing neuro-inflammation and maintaining cognitive function.

An article from Dr. Mercola echoes this support saying, THC (in addition to medicinally touted, non-psychoactive CBD), should not be written off just because it is psychoactive. It has valuable therapeutic properties in it’s own right.

Dr. Mercola goes on to say, “according to recent animal research, THC has a beneficial influence on the aging brain. Rather than dulling or impairing cognition, THC appears to reverse the aging process and improve mental processes, raising the possibility it might be useful for the treatment of dementia in the elderly.

The study is so compelling that I am quoting it directly here:

“To test the hypothesis, mice were given a small daily dose of THC over the course of one month, at the age of 2 months, 12 months and again at 18 months of age. It is important to understand that mice typically live until 2 years old. The dose was small enough to avoid any psychoactive effects.

Tests assessed the animals’ learning, memory, orientation and recognition skills. Interestingly, 18-month-old mice given THC demonstrated cognitive skills equal to 2-month-old controls, while the placebo group suffered cognitive deterioration associated with normal aging.”

According to one of the authors, neurobiology professor Andreas Zimmer, University of Bonn, “The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals. We repeated these experiments many times. It’s a very robust and profound effect.” Even more remarkable, gene activity and the molecular profile in the brain tissue was that of much younger animals. Specifically, neurons in the hippocampus grew more synaptic spines — points of contact necessary for communication between neurons. 

According to Zimmer, the THC appeared to have “turned back the molecular clock” in the THC-treated animals.”

My personal take-aways: medicinal (low and slow) approach to cannabis seems to regulate our systems profoundly and healthfully. Its important to note it will affect brains at different ages differently. While the younger set may not need the THC-effect, it may do very well with non-psychoactive CBD (from what studies regarding anxiety are showing and from what we hear anecdotally every day). While micro-dosing THC can help the aging brain’s activity in such a way that inflammation may be lowered therefore improving cognitive processes.

It is our opinion that Medicinal Cannabis can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Inflammation and free radicals can occur through many lifestyle choices, and things we are exposed to daily. Oxidative stress takes a toll on our cognitive abilities. Anti-oxidants in whole foods, getting enough sunshine, fresh air, exercise and making time for whatever it is that lowers your stress level (meditation, yoga, playing an instrument, bonding with an animal, just saying ‘no’ to superfluous negativity and gossip… ) all play into longevity and health span. 

written by Kait Shane, Natural Health Services

For further insight into all things Cannabis, don’t forget to tune in to The Cannabis Show, and make sure to subscribe as there is a new episode every Wednesday.

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