March 5, 2012

Study: Marijuana linked to Short-Term Memory Loss

A recent study has revealed that smoking of Marijuana leads to short-term memory loss. The article about the findings of this experiment was published on science Journal ‘Cell’.

Neuroscientists Xia Zhang of the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research and Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux, France had performed this experiment.

In the experiment the scientists applied tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana to a horde of rats to know about the link between astrocyte signaling and cognitive function of the brain.

The researchers found that the compound weakens the connections or synapses between neurons in the hippocampus, a structure that is vital for memory formation. They had implanted microelectrodes into the brains of the horde of anaesthetized rats.

The scientists reiterated these experiments in two types of mice.  One type of mouse lacked CB1 receptors in hippocampal neurons; the other lacked in those that synthesize the neurotransmitter GABA. The mice had been genetically modified to alter their production of CB1 receptors, the molecules that interact with THC in the brain.

In fact the experiment found some solid evidence that ‘astrocytes’ control neurons and memory both. Astrocytes are a kind of signaling mechanism between neurons and non-neuronal cells.

Astrocyte was earlier considered important only for protecting neurons. Temporary memory loss by marijuana is due to the activation of astroglial CB1R and is associated with astroglia-dependent hippocampal Long Term Depression (LTD) in the living organisms.

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