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Kleine Dosen von Tetrahydrocannabinol aka THC aka der psychoaktive Anteil von Cannabis kehren anscheinend bei älteren Mäuse-Hirnen den Alterungsprozess um und hilft bei der Bildung neuer Erinnerungen. (Bei jungen Mäusen ist das Gegenteil der Fall). „In some cultures, it’s traditional for elders to smoke grass, a practice said to help them pass on tribal knowledge. It turns out that they might just be onto something.“
To find out, the team gave young (2-month-old), middle-aged (12-month-old) and elderly (18-month-old) mice a steady dose of THC. The amount they received was too small to give them psychoactive effects. After a month, the team tested the mice’s ability to perform cognitive tasks, such as finding their way around mazes, or recognising other individuals.
In the control groups, which received no THC, the young mice performed far better than the middle-aged and elderly mice. But the middle-aged and elderly mice who had been given THC performed as well as the young mice in the control group. Further studies showed that THC boosted the number of connections between brain cells in the hippocampus, which is involved in memory formation. “It’s a quite striking finding,” says Zimmer.
But THC seemed to have the opposite effect in young mice: when they were given THC, their performance in some tasks declined.