Researchers at Ohio State University have found that specific elements of marijuana (read: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) can be good for the aging brain by reducing inflammation, one of the proposed contributing factors to Alzheimer's disease.
Instead of recommending that people start smoking marijuana (although they admitted that they couldn't say this wouldn't work), the research team suggests that a legal drug could be developed containing certain properties that emulate the effects of THC without marijuana's "high" (sorry, folks). They've already shown that such a drug can prevent or delay memory impairment in rats; however, the drug is not effective once memory impairment is present.
THC, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine have now all been found to protect the brain against inflammation when administered in moderation. Does that mean that it's healthy to smoke pot, smoke cigarettes, drink to excess, and pound Red Bulls? Uh, no. You'd have to be high to come to that conclusion. Plus, we wouldn't want you getting the munchies, since we already know that fast food might be bad for your brain. Dude.
Photo © James Gathany