I have smoked weed just about all of my life. I am getting older (almost 60) and I wonder: Should I quit? - Old Red-Eyes

I don’t know. Should you? Cannabis use is a personal decision. However, old people use cannabis all the time. According to a recent study by the University of Colorado, cannabis use by old folks has increased in the past decade. This is mostly because cannabis is more legal than ever, and also because older people are using cannabis as a medicine rather than as a party drug. It makes sense: Study after study shows that cannabis is great for aches and pains, good for insomnia, etc. A new study from Nature Magazine finds that low doses of THC helped old mice improve their cognitive function: “THC treatment restored hippocampal gene transcription patterns such that the expression profiles of THC-treated mice aged 12 months closely resembled those of THC-free animals aged 2 months.”

How about that? Cannabis keeps your brain young. At least if you are a mouse. Humans are not mice, of course, but a brain is a brain, and an endocannabinoid system is an endocannabinoid system.

I am not a doctor, but if you are in good health and are still enjoying cannabis at an advanced age: Woohoo!

Can you tell me more about terpenes and whatnot? - Ayre O’matic

Sure. While THC and CBD are probably the most well known chemicals in the cannabis plant, terpenes (aromatic, non-cannabinoid chemicals found in the cannabis plant) are gaining attention. Terpenes are what give cannabis strains their unique aromas and flavors. Myrcene, pinene, limonene, beta-caryophyllene are the most well known, but there are others.

Turns out that terpenes don’t just make weed taste good, they can also be beneficial. For instance: Beta-caryophyllene has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory and also reduce the accumulation of the brain plaque that causes Alzheimer’s disease. Yes, this test was performed on mice and yes, mice still aren’t humans, but still – the results are promising.

Fortunately, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (part of the National Institutes of Health) just announced three new studies about terpenes and cannabinoids. Well done, NCCIH! I hear they are even gonna do some tests on humans this time.

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