Study shows THC restores cognitive function in older mice


Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

A study published by Nature Medicine found low doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be instrumental in restoring cognitive memory and function in older mice.

THC is the chemical compound found in the Cannabis plant responsible for getting users “high.”

The study completed by researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany took three age groups of mice and administered them a low dose of THC. These mice all fell under each respective age group of young, mature, and aging brains.

Mice were given tests from navigating a water maze to finding a specific object to measure cognitive memory. In the control test without THC, mice performed normally with the younger mice completing the tasks more efficiently than the older mice.

After the mice were then lightly dosed with THC, the older mice displayed a restoration of cognitive function that outmatched the younger mice, who experienced slight impairment when completing their tasks.

Upon examining  segments of the group’s brain responsible for memory known as the hippocampus, the THC had physically changed the synapses and gene expression in the older mice’s’ brains when compared to their younger counterparts.

With THC absent, researchers saw a significant decline in the cognitive function of older mice that was stifled and restored to normal function when THC was present.

The mice in the younger age group’s ability to complete their tasks diminished after receiving their doses, reflecting a similar study in which adolescent mice did not react well to the chemical compound.

The study was covered over a 28-day period, which is considered very short in scientific communities.  Researchers are now looking to conduct trials on humans, but it will take a long time before the research passes preliminary stages.