Does Marijuana Actually Ruin Your Memory? Wait, What?

memory and cannabis

The major reason why advocacy for cannabis acceptance is taking such a long time is primarily because of popular negative stereotypes the majority of people believe. Prior to this age of widespread acceptance, the majority of people see cannabis as a hard drug with no benefit at all. Although this completely wrong myth is being debunked there is still a long way to go. The current illegal status of cannabis, the lack of sufficient research and clinical evidence on some areas of cannabis are the major factors that need to be addressed for cannabis to take that next step.

In this article, I’ll shed light on one of the areas of cannabis effects that has been largely debated over the years. We will look into the relationship between cannabis and its effects on memory. I’ll also answer the million-dollar question ‘ can cannabis can ruin your memory?’

Cannabis and memory

The relationship between cannabis and memory is based on the effects of cannabinoids in the brain. Cannabis is made up of large molecules such as cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. There are over 100 cannabinoids embedded in the matrix of the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids act through the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors in the brain to effect some changes in the brainwaves. These cannabinoids directly or indirectly influence the cannabinoid receptors giving rise to positive and negative influences on memory.

THC is a major cannabinoid in cannabis that gives rise to the euphoric high experienced when cannabis is used. The influence of the binding of this psychoactive cannabinoid can however cause impairment of memory when it binds too long. CBD, another major cannabinoid that does not bind directly to cannabinoid receptors helps to mediate this effect of THC. It removes the risks of memory impairment that comes with an overdose of THC. It should be noted that there is still a need for more works of research regarding the roles that these cannabinoids and other cannabinoids play when it comes to memory.

We can divide memory into long-term memory and short-term memory for the sake of this article. Long-term memory will refer to memories of past events stored indefinitely while short-term memory will refer to immediate events. Cannabis interacts differently with these classes of memories giving rise to different results both positive and negative. We will be looking into how cannabis interacts with these classes of memories individually to assess if cannabis truly does ruin your memory.

Cannabis and Short-term memory

As earlier stated, short-term memories have to do with immediate events and storage of present info. The effects of the euphoric high that arises from the use of cannabis with a high THC level can affect short-term memory negatively. This is because the user finds it hard to concentrate and attention to details needed for memory storage is not optimal. This presents a situation where the user negatively responds to the external environment and happenings around. This effect however is just what is required for patients suffering from PTSD. It helps them cope with the recurrent memories that surface from the traumatic events and the euphoric high helps get rid of depression.

Cannabis also influences verbal memory as users can find it hard to properly articulate themselves. This falls slightly under short-term effects because the effect is due to a lack of concentration. It is a very common occurrence among recreational users. Some have difficulty with the pronunciation of words and some can go as far as coming up with incoherent words.

Another effect of cannabis when it comes to short-term memory has to do with working memory. Working memory has to do with the ability to process information and acting on them. Cannabis can have a negative effect on this if used to a level where the euphoric high completely gets a hold of the user. It is particularly bad for those that will be subjected to a form of test or exam that requires activeness of the brain at that moment. However, some creatives have found the use of cannabis helpful to let out their creative nature instinct. Athletes have also found cannabis useful in letting out the strength and intensity hidden within.

Cannabis and Long-term memory

The effects of cannabis when it comes to long-term memory cannot be easily assessed as with short-term memory. Long-term memories vary in terms of how they were stored. Also, when the memory occurred is another limiting factor that can affect assessing the effect of cannabis on long-term memory. However, cannabis helps patients suffering from PTSD and helps to soften the effects. This shows the positive effect of cannabis in dealing with long-term memories of traumatic events.

This positive effect of cannabis creatively utilized in medical marijuana is a form of the effect of cannabis on long-term memories. It helps to forget painful memories of traumatic events. It also helps to reduce flashbacks of such events that may be triggered by different external factors. Cannabis through the effect of cannabinoids helps to deal with different neurodegenerative diseases that affect memory such as Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. 

Tips on how to control the effects of cannabis on memory

 These mild negative effects of cannabis can be easily avoided. We are miles away from where we once were in terms of knowledge of cannabis and it is high time we use it to our advantage. Here are some quality tips on how to use cannabis without risking its effects on memories.

Start low and slow

It is important to pace yourself while using cannabis. Make sure to start with an easy strain before trying those that will easily take you past cloud nine. Dosing is very important and once you understand yourself with the herb, you can work your way up.

If effects are too strong, change strains

Many people suffer such effects because they are being rigid in their choice of cannabis strain. A change in strain might save you from all the unwanted effects that you are experiencing and give you the best of the natural herb.

Talk to a professional

While trying to pace yourself or change your strain, you can easily talk to a professional. Budtenders in cannabis dispensaries are thoroughly equipped with the necessary info to put you on the right track with your herb. You can also talk to a medical marijuana expert to ensure that you know all that there is to know.

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