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Does cannabis really affect your memory?

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This article was originally published gold leaf It is shown here with permission.

Yes, cannabis can affect your memory. It appears to enhance both positive and negative effects. The nature and impact of these effects vary based on memory subtype, cannabis profile, age of the user, and frequency of cannabis use.

An introduction

Although it is an old metaphor, we are all aware of the stereotype of the forgotten stone. You know the type: the guy who can never find his phone. and keys. In extreme cases, maybe even their car.
But how much truth is behind this caricature?
Does cannabis affect a person’s memory in a harmful way?
Or maybe it’s just the opposite? After all, cannabis is known to have a myriad of health-promoting effects for wellness.
In fact, the answer is not cut and dry.
The latest research on this topic provides a complex and still developing understanding of how cannabis affects memory function.
Although the science of cannabis and memory is far from conclusive, what has been discovered offers a great deal of food for thought.
Read on to learn more about the main findings so far on cannabis and memory.

What is memory?

Webster’s Dictionary defines memory as “the specific act of remembering or remembering”. Simple enough, right?
However, when examining the positive and negative effects of cannabis on memory, it is important to identify the many different subtypes of memory. This is useful because there appears to be quite a bit of variation in the effects depending on the memory subtype being tested.
future memory It refers to a person’s ability to remember to do a particular action at a specific time in the future.
Chronological memory It involves remembering the correct order in which a series of events occurred.
False memories are inaccurate memories of past events.
FREE Summon It is a type of common memory test where the information is given to the participant who has to later recall the data. It is important to note that the ability to remember the order in which information was shared is not an aspect of free recall testing.
source memory It refers to a person’s ability to remember the origin of his memories or knowledge. For example, if you remember how to spell the word “receive” correctly because a teacher warned you in front of your classmates when you misspelled the word.
working memory It is an aspect of short-term memory that involves a person’s ability to remember things while engaged in a task.
Now, with these definitions in place, let’s move on to analyzing the latest research on how cannabis affects memory.

What are the positive effects of cannabis on memory?

Although it may come as a surprise to some, cannabis has been shown to have positive effects on memory in specific cases.

Faster processing times with CBD

a Study 2020 Researchers at University College London found that a single dose of 600 mg of oral cannabidiol was associated with faster response times on memory tests in healthy individuals.
The reason for this appears to be that CBD increases blood flow in the brain to the hippocampus, which is thought to be the most important area of ​​the brain for memory.
The implications of this study (and others) are very promising in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia, PTSD, and other conditions that have neurodegenerative effects.
It should be noted, however, that the researchers found no difference in accuracy in memory tasks between the receiving group Convention on Biological Diversity and the control group.

High CBD cannabis does not impair memory

The study by University College London indicated that CBD may have positive effects on memory.
But what if you decide to consume hemp directly, instead of just CBD?
In this case, varieties with a high CBD content may be a good choice if you are concerned about potential adverse effects on your memory.
A study from 2020 confirmed that memory accuracy was not affected when varieties with both THC and CBD were used.
However, the same study found that those who used cannabis varieties and products without CBD faced significant acute and long-term challenges with memory accuracy.

As you get older, cannabis may be better for your memory

Recent research seems to have led to the conclusion that CBD may have minor memory benefits (or at least not harm your memory).
Unfortunately, a lot of research shows that THC may have negative effects on memory.
However, a 2017 study where rats were given THC conflicts with the overall picture painted elsewhere.
This study demonstrated that older (18 months) and mature (12 months) rats also performed young (2 months old) rats in a series of memory tests after they had received a small dose of THC.
Furthermore, the researchers discovered that it was the interaction of THC with the hippocampus in these older, mature mice that led to this beneficial effect.
Conversely, giving THC to young mice led to worse performance on memory tests.
Additional study may indicate that THC It affects human memory in a similar way that depends on age.

Many types of memory are not negatively affected by cannabis

Although some of his findings were cause for concern, a recent study by researchers affiliated with Washington State University revealed two positive effects related to cannabis and memory.
The researchers found that cannabis use was not associated with lower future memory, with participants who used cannabis and those who remained sober performing roughly equal.
In addition, cannabis users in this study performed well on tests related to chronological order memory.
Interestingly, these results were consistent regardless of whether participants consumed high potency flower (i.e. 20% or more THC) with CBD, high potency flower without CBD, or high potency concentrate (i.e., 60% or more). of THC) with CBD.

Some objections are worth considering

The current research appears to indicate that cannabis has harmful effects on some types of memory in certain cases.
It is also true that researchers are held to high standards by their peers through the peer review process; Studies with overt weaknesses in methodology are unlikely to be published in reputable journals.
However, cannabis is not the only substance that may impair memory. Alcohol, which is ubiquitous in our society and is completely legal, can lead to memory loss and brain damage.
And alcohol is just one of the many legal and illegal substances that can impair memory.
Even if the research participants were not currently under the influence of any substances other than cannabis – which almost all studies control – there is a possibility that previous use of such substances may have produced long-term effects.
A related concern is rarely discussed: that people with previous memory impairments may not be fully aware of their history with other subjects. In turn, this may distort the data and lead to inaccurate conclusions.

What are the negative effects of cannabis on memory?

Although cannabis may produce beneficial effects on memory in certain situations – particularly for older individuals or those with neurodegenerative disorders – various studies have shown that cannabis may produce harmful effects as well.

Earlier in this article we discussed the positive effects of cannabis on memory that were discovered in a study funded by the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Research Program at Washington State University.
Now it’s time to discuss the negative effects of cannabis on memory that were found in the same study for current cannabis users.
One troubling finding was that people who used concentrates with a THC content of 10% or higher were more likely to experience difficulties with false memories, source memory, and free recall.
Another cause for concern is that this study conflicts with what other researchers have found regarding CBD’s ability to protect against memory damage.
Data from this study showed that those who smoked rosemary with CBD performed worse on tests of free verbal recall than the sober control group. Interestingly, they also performed worse than those using concentrates or the flower without CBD.

Furthermore, a team from Washington State University also found that users of high-potency concentrates and CBD-free flowers performed worse on source memory tests.

Finally, this study also revealed that all cannabis users — those using concentrates, flowers with CBD, and flowers without CBD — had lower scores on a false memory test than those who were mindful.
It’s important to note that this is just one of the relatively few studies on cannabis and memory. Furthermore, the study was limited to those who were already heavy users of cannabis.
But the same report notes that the results may not be alarming: “Despite the use of highly potent products, we failed to detect any significant effects on any of these. [memory-related] Results. It is possible that this reflects the true absence of the effects of cannabis on these aspects of cognition.”
One final point to note: This study measured how cannabis interacts with memory during highs.
An interesting follow-up study would be to measure performance in this set of tests by stoned cannabis users, sober cannabis users, former vigilant cannabis users, and those who are vigilant and have never used cannabis.

Excessive cannabis use and memory

In 2020, a research team led by Monica E. Lovell conducted a meta-analysis of 30 studies that evaluated the effect of cannabis on memory.
In all, Lovell and colleagues’ study examined differences in memory and cognition between 849 research participants who used cannabis and 764 participants who were placed in control groups.
All participants who used cannabis in the Lovell team’s studies were long-term (median 2 years), and frequent (average 4 days a week) recreational users who abstained from cannabis for an average of 12 hours.
What Lovell’s team found were small, albeit significant, differences in memory between cannabis users and those in the control groups.
Specifically, their findings indicated that frequent cannabis users underperformed on assessments related to memory, including working memory, attention, and information processing.
Perhaps the most concerning meta-analysis by Lovell et al is that this gap between cannabis users and sober individuals remained intact even when adjusting for duration of cannabis use, age of onset, and prolonged cannabis abstinence.

Conclusion

According to current research, cannabis appears to enhance both beneficial and detrimental effects on memory.
However, there are numerous examples of similar studies that conflict with each other’s findings.
It is unlikely that additional research will lead to our ability to make a comprehensive, conclusive statement, such as that cannabis improves or protects memory.
However, additional study may be promising in helping the scientific community gain more clarity about the complex ways in which cannabis affects memory.

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