Is it possible that the same stuff that made you forget where you parked your car as a youth may actually help reverse mental decline as you age? That's what they found in a recent study performed on mice. Elderly mice given a small dose of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, saw their maze test scores improve dramatically. Groovy! Meanwhile, the young mice test scores plummeted as they sat around eating Doritos and freaking out about government conspiracy theories.
Marijuana contains compounds that mimic our brain's own marijuana-like molecules, referred to as endogenous cannabinoids. Our cannabinoid system is homeostatic which means both too much or too little have negative effects. Since endogenous cannabinoid production declines with age, it makes sense that the older mice received a mental boost from the exogenous source. It also makes sense that the young mice were negatively impacted by the dosage since they already had an optimal amount.
It's hard to extrapolate human guidelines from a mouse study, but retirement may have just gotten a little more interesting.