Everything Our Parents Told Us Was Wrong!
If you’re of a certain age (like me), you can recall a time when your parents advice on health and wellness, well, was anything but healthy. “Drink whole milk, get plenty of sun, eat lots of meat and go to college,” was pretty much the health regiment of the day. And, unfortunately, those who listened became overweight, got melanoma, and died of heart failure. As for college, that’s a toss up.
But, nowhere was their health advice more misplaced than in regards to that magical herb, Cannabis. There were many popular misconceptions put forth by parents at that time to squelch the youth’s natural curiosity. You can still hear them being bantered about today:
- Cannabis is a gateway drug that will lead you down the road to harder drugs
- Consuming marijuana lowers your intelligence
- Cannabis smoke exposure is more damaging to the lungs than tobacco smoke
- It’s highly addictive
- And, my favorite, it will make you sterile
However, while our moms and the nation’s first lady were telling us to just say no, the counter culture was telling us to light up and live.
As it turns out, the Grateful Dead was right…
Because now comes news from researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany that Cannabis might affect older users in a very positive way — at least in mice. In recently published results from a study suggesting that rather than impairing learning and memory, Cannabis appears to reverse age-related impairments in cognitive performance.
How is it possible that THC and other cannabinoids can actually have an age reversing effect on the brain? Well, researchers explain that the compounds in Cannabis mimic similar molecules in the aging brain, called endogenous cannabinoids, that actually activate certain receptors in the brain, that otherwise would be dormant. It’s this anti-aging potential of Cannabis that helped the university researchers secure additional funding and legal approval from the German government.
Given that elderly Americans, those 65 and over, are the fastest growing marijuana-consuming demographic, according to another recent study, titled “Demographic Trends Among Older Cannabis Users in the United States, 2006-2013,” grandma can take comfort in the fact that she’s actually improving her cognitive abilities next time she tokes up. The report found that cannabis use among those 65 and older has increased an astounding 250 percent over the eight year period of the study.
So, don’t be surprised if those who were once the loudest marijuana opponents, parents of Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers, are now among its biggest supporters and beneficiaries. Put that in your pipe and smoke it — and happy Mother’s Day! Mom, have I got a gift for you!