Could marijuana help with memory problems?

The marijuana and memory linkBucking public perception, research at Ohio State University shows that elements in marijuana can reduce inflammation in the brain and may stimulate the formation of new brain cells, possibly reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Although scientists have yet to discover the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, brain inflammation is thought to contribute to memory loss.

If a drug were produced which mimicked the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (the active chemical in marijuana), it could prevent the memory impairments related to the aging process, according to Gary Wenk, professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

The study, which was discussed Wednesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., also found that a THC-like substance can help in the creation of new brain cells, which typically decreases as we age.

Wenk points out that although not “everything immoral is good for the brain,” THC joins the list of substances like nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine which have shown some protection against inflammation in the brain when used in moderation.

Federal law prohibits the possession or use of marijuana, but 13 states now allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.