THC can help regulate circadian rhythm and aging


Cannabinoids can help keep this circadian clock to a maximum.

Environmental signals, such as light and temperature, are factors that influence the behavior of organisms. This helps them regulate the diet, the sleep and other activities depending on the time of the day. Individuals use these signals to improve their survival and fitness over time. Collectively, the phenomenon is called circadian rhythm or circadian clock. It dictates some of the most basic needs of an individual. A circadian rhythm is a biological rhythm with a duration of approximately 24 hours, which has at least one cycle per period of 24 hours. The term " circadian", Invented by Franz Halberg, comes from Latin circa," around, "and dies," day, "and literally means cycle that lasts" about a day. "

Although the observation that the behavior of animals is adapted to the time of day was made long ago, the biological and physiological mechanisms explaining these processes began to be studied recently. These studies have revealed the existence of circadian clock genes and, more importantly, the fact that changes in clock genes occur during aging.

Circadian rhythm and aging

One of the most reported symptoms of circadian rhythm disturbances in the elderly is sleep disturbance. Sleep quality and consistency are two of the most affected aspects of circadian biology that deteriorate with age. In addition, since sleep is an integral part of memory consolidation, aging-related sleep disorders often occur at the same time with cognitive and / or neurodegenerative diseases. Oscillations of body temperature (that is, higher during the day and lower at night) and the production of a human growth hormone are other physiological factors on which an abnormal circadian rhythm has a negative impact. .

circadian rhythm, aging, CB1 receptors, endocannabinoid system, 2AG, THC, cannabinoids

The endocannabinoid system changes with age

Many studies show that the endocannabinoid system regulates sleep, hunger, body temperature and cognitive function. Aging will cause disruption and dysfunction of the circadian rhythm.

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Not surprisingly, the endocannabinoid system itself is modulated as we get older. More recent human studies using PET have shown increases in sex-specific CB1 receptor responsiveness in older women. The changes occur not only in the receptors, but also in the endocannabinoids. For example, 2-AG decreases with age.

Similarly, studies in aging mice have shown that the CB1 deficit resulted in age-related behavioral disorders much earlier than in mice whose CB1 gene was intact. These results indicate that preserving the tone of endocannabinoids is important for proper cognitive function during aging.

In addition, recent data in primates indicate that endocannabinoid system components are themselves subject to circadian rhythm regulation. Namely, the manufacture of new CB1 receivers is under circadian modulation. This would indicate that the available abundance of cannabinoid receptors varies by day and night.

circadian rhythm, aging, CB1 receptors, endocannabinoid system, 2AG, THC, cannabinoids

Can cannabinoids treat these age-related changes?

There is ample evidence to suggest that low doses of THC (≤ 3 mg / kg in rodents) and other cannabinoids may be therapeutic for some aspects of age-related pathophysiology. On the other hand, at high doses (≥ 3 mg / kg in rodents and ≥ 0,15 mg / kg in humans, the response to THC may be deleterious.

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In addition, the time of day when THC is administered can have a significant impact on physiological responses, which may lead us to the finding that the expression of cannabinoid receptors is circadian modulated.

The implications of these results go far. Prescribing physicians should consider not only the dosage, but also the age and time of cannabis use.

In any case, the pharmacology of cannabinoids seems promising in the treatment of some declining aspects of age-related physiology, although we still have much to learn about the circadian modulation of endocannabinoid genes and the optimal window for treatments.

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Tags : cannabinoidsEndocannabinoid systemTHC