The human brain has incredible capabilities, and nobody is certain where are its limits. The claim that people use only ten percent of their brain might be a myth, but even scientists haven’t answered many questions related to how our mind works.
The potential of fully-developed humans to regrow cells in their brain is one of the hottest topics in neuroscience. The extensive research seems to bring mixed results, and you can easily find experts to be on opposite sides when discussing this issue. The latest studies have, however, shown that an active compound of marijuana can contribute to brain cell formation.
Can Marijuana Lead to Brain Cell Growth?
In recent research, scientists have designed a synthetic component that has the same properties as an active cannabinoid found in marijuana. They tested that component on rats and concluded that it has the power of boosting cell growth. The researchers even went a step further to claim that it is the brain cell formation that can help to deal with various mental disorders, including depression and anxiety.
The compound used was given a name HU210, and the results undoubtedly indicated that the rats’ hippocampus increased the rate of forming new nerve cells by 40%. That replicated the results achieved by Prozac, a known antidepressant.
Here are some more details about the research process. The scientists gave the cannabinoid HU210 to rats and then put them in stressful situations. According to the results, they demonstrated less depression and anxiety than the other standard rat group used for comparison sakes. The researchers used X-rays to stop neurogenesis and their anxiety levels increased. It is what suggests that neurogenesis can directly be related to dealing with these mental disorders.
What About Counter Research?
As we already mentioned, the scientific jury is still out on the definite conclusion regarding the capability of our brain to regrow cells. You can find studies that had different results and couldn’t confirm that hippocampus is the place where cell growth even occurs. The scientists from the University of California claim that the fact rats and other mammals have hippocampus that can boost brain cell creation doesn’t mean that humans have that ability, too.
“It is what makes all the studies on mice and rats irrelevant,” says Ph.D. Michelle Ross who works in an organization focused on researching medical cannabis. That is important because Ross is one of the advocates of the campaign to legalize marijuana. However, she emphasizes that she has to be honest regarding the human ability for neurogenesis.
Ross claims that the study undoubtedly shows the human brain works differently from other mammals or at least rats and mice. However, Ross doesn’t exclude the fact that other researchers might disprove this study, but she believes it will take time for someone to exhibit such results.
So, how did the Californian researchers reach these results? Thanks to 12 adults who passed away and donated their brains to science, which means they used brains of dead persons. The scientists looked for molecules that only appear in the grown brain cells, but they didn’t find any even though they had some well-preserved samples.
Can Neurogenesis Occur in Other Parts of the Brain?
The crucial reason why others are questioning the results of the Californian study is that they only looked for signs of new brain cells forming in the hippocampus. That doesn’t confirm that cell growth may occur in other brain sections.
Robert Melamede, a retired molecular biology professor, agrees with that claim. Melamede held the first ever medical marijuana course accredited for universities, which makes him an expert on the issue. According to the retired professor, many patients with Alzheimer’s managed to restore their memory and mental functionality up to a certain extent thanks to CBD treatments. He even claims that he has a personal example in the family – his brother.
“He was virtually a vegetable, but he has gotten better. That might have happened because of neurogenesis,” said Melamede and pinpointed it seems that the improvement matches the time when his brother started with CBD therapy.
The professor, however, emphasizes that other aspects have to be considered, too. He lists nutrition as one of the vital factors that might contribute to neurogenesis. It is important to eat foods rich in Omega-3s and avoid processed foods.
It makes sense why the professor would say that because we already know that Omega-3s can promote the production of endocannabinoids in the human body. After all, the brain consists of more than 15% of DHA, which is one of the essential fatty acids. That makes it obvious how optimal nutrition filled with Omega-3s can benefit overall brain health even if it can’t play a role in neurogenesis.
Who Is Right?
It may be impossible to tell as both sides have studies that support their claims. However, that shouldn’t stop you from finding the best desktop vaporizer out there to experience other benefits of CBD and cannabis. The list is long and includes pain relief, improved mood, and overall feeling of relaxation.
In the meantime, we will probably have to wait for new studies regarding neurogenesis and its relation to marijuana. The active cannabinoids that are a part of cannabis can allegedly stimulate hippocampus and lead to forming new brain cells. While that process was proven in a study, the research was conducted on rats, and there is no scientific confirmation that human hippocampus is capable of neurogenesis.
Proving that marijuana can boost cell growth in the human brain would add neurogenesis to the list of medical benefits of this herb. However, the scientists warn that it is essential not to rush any decision, especially today when cannabis is still fighting for the sympathies of the public.
Jessica has been closely studying the cannabis industry trends from quite some time. Intrigued by the booming growth of this sector, she takes an interest in penning down her views providing quality insight on current marijuana trends, particularly medical cannabis.