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Scientists See Benefits for Baby Boomers Who Consume Cannabis

benefits baby boomers consume cannabis

According to a University of Colorado study, marijuana use among seniors in the U.S. increased tenfold over ten years as more baby boomers used it to treat various conditions, such as pain, anxiety, and depression.

3.7% of U.S. people 65 and older reported using cannabis in the past year, more than ten times the 0.3% reported in 2007. Compared to 1.9% ten years prior, 9.4% of persons aged 60 to 64 reported consuming marijuana in the previous year. The number of older Americans using the drug is predicted to increase as more states legalize it for medical and recreational purposes.

Gary Wenk, Ph.D., observed that while high THC concentrations can adversely affect the developing adolescent brain, older brains have the exact opposite effects. Older cannabis users had noticeably more neural connections between the cerebellum and hippocampus than non-users.

There are fewer cannabinoid receptors in the brain as people age, which is one of the endocannabinoid system’s (ECS) age-related alterations. The ECS is a sophisticated cell-signaling system in the brain and body that communicates with virtually all of our other body systems. It is an essential component of human physiology that aids in maintaining homeostasis. The loss of neurons in the hippocampus, which is essential for learning and memory, is brought on by increased inflammation in these brain regions that occurs with normal aging. This describes how aging-related memory loss occurs.

cannabinoid receptors

Older And Wiser

Wenk cited his laboratory research showing that regular stimulation of cannabinoid receptors improved cognition, reduced brain inflammation, and promoted hippocampus neurogenesis in older brains. “Given that the cerebellum and hippocampus are highly susceptible to the effects of aging, the potential advantages are significant.” He said in Psychology Today that the hippocampus is stable until about age 50, after which it rapidly atrophy, adding that this loss is associated with mild cognitive impairment.

In the limited human research on the impact of cannabis on middle-aged or older brains, cognitive performance was shown to be minimal or not affected at all. Cannabis use was linked to better cognitive task performance in middle-aged adults, according to longitudinal studies that compared pre- and post-exposure performance. Low-dose, daily cannabis use after age 55 may also effectively counteract the degenerative effects of chronic brain inflammation.

Older And Wiser

As the popularity of marijuana across the U.S. increases, we’re sure to see a spike in the number of seniors consuming the plant. The rising number of people over 60 using cannabis is astounding, considering this generation has received most of the anti-weed propaganda and misinformation over the last 50 years. However, one thing is sure, as cannabis use within this age group becomes more common, there will be several new studies conducted that show how beneficial cannabis can be to seniors everywhere.

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