Just say yes? Marijuana may aid memory among elderly

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Marijuana may not be as bad for the brain as previously believed.
Marijuana may not be as bad for the brain as previously believed.
Smoking weed may actually improve memory function and stimulate the growth of new brain cells among older adults, according to researchers at Ohio State University.

But don't switch on the black light and turn up your favorite Doobie Brothers album just yet. It's important to note that none of the researchers suggest the elderly take up smoking marijuana. Rather, their research suggests that low levels of the drug's active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) works to stimulate the production of new brain cells and reduce inflammation in the brain. While the cause of Alzheimer's disease is still unknown, researchers say chronic inflammation could be a contributing factor to memory loss, and that substances that reduce inflammation could aid in preventing the disease.

Researchers hope to use their findings to identify which chemicals in THC act on which brain receptors, so they can isolate those chemicals and develop a non-hallucinogenic drug based on marijuana. OSU researchers presented their report to at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
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