A lot of people use cannabis to help them feel relaxed and disremember their burdens in life. However, figures from studies demonstrate that chronic cannabis use deteriorates the short-term memory. Some studies established that the more quantity of cannabis is taken, the more threatening it is to the memory.
Cannabis is particularly destructive to working memory, which is essential for learning and focus. The working memory is similar to a sticky note which lets the brain to cling to new details and execute with it for a few hours. It is what permits us to remember a phone number, recall a direction, or do mental arithmetic.
Prolonged use of cannabis may be also destructive to the verbal memory of a person. A study was done in 2016 by which it was learned that people in middle age who are smoking cannabis every day for 5 years or even longer did worse on tests on word memory compared to those people who did not smoke cannabis. The more amount of cannabis they smoked, the weak was their recall for words.
Understanding the Memory
There is no doubt that you have the overall idea of how the memory functions; however, the perception of memory is a lot broader than just recalling events of your life. The memory is what lets us encrypt, retain, and remember information and life experiences. The memory is the main element of how the present behavior is compelled, according to past encounters. You may learn and shift according to your encounters, and you let it function not only for your daily performance but also in establishing relationships.
Memory is a convoluted neurological concept, and if you are penetrating different memories, the neurons in the brain are conclusively renewing what occurred during a particular experience.
There are distinctions in long-term and short-term memory, and memory is also classified into verbal, procedural, and working memory. Another method to categorize memory is neurological, short-term, and long-term. Sensory memory assigns to momentary memories that end from how sensory encounters are handled in the brain. Working memory or short-term memory assigns to all things you are concentrating on at a particular moment. The working memory or short-term memory refines the information that is not important and guarantees that you keep what you do require.
The long-term memory is more constant, and the brain transmits significant things from the short to long-term memory.
Memory is a lot more to think about past encounters, and it stimulates all the decisions you do in your life. Hence, does cannabis affect memory? What should you understand about cannabis and memory loss?
Cannabis and Memory Problems
Things are, nevertheless, more complex when it comes to the excessive usage of cannabis. Among the many psychoactive elements that are present in cannabis, typically labeled as cannabinoids, the particular subject of the many intensive research is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Now, THC, together with the other psychoactive elements in cannabis, has the same formation as the endogenous neurotransmitters found in the brain.
These unrefined neurotransmitters are related to various parts of cognitive performance, including learning and memory, and they merge to the CB1 or cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The moment the THC, as well as the other psychoactive elements, first get into the bloodstream, they eventually pass the boundary between the brain and the blood, they merge themselves to similar receptors as the endogenous neurotransmitters. Nevertheless, different from the neurotransmitters which are nearly involved with the managing and keeping of information and thus regulating the memory, the THC creates no share whatsoever to the progression of our skill to learn, remember, and process information.
This has brought a lot of studies to attest that chronic consumption of cannabis may deteriorate the memory and also the cognitive skills. Even though there can be other things that may be accountable for these, many researchers on the current subject think that the consumption of cannabis is mainly the reason for this incident. Further, it has been implied that these neuroanatomical alterations like the loss of verbal memory performances and IQ scores are constant because even when the concerned people stopped their consumption of cannabis for many years, they were not able to gain back those functions.
Does Cannabis Affect Memory?
Cannabis has particular chemicals like THC, which gets into the bloodstream and then conclusively goes through the blood-brain boundary. Once the chemicals in cannabis get into the brain, they trigger something known as the endocannabinoid system, and this is associated with the parts of your brain which regulate the memory.
One specific example is the CB1 receptors. These kinds of receptors react to the THC in cannabis, and they are found in the brain’s hippocampus, which is the area where most of the memories are managed and conclusively kept.
How Cannabis Triggers Memory Loss?
To better comprehend how cannabis affects the memory, it is necessary to initially identify that memory is not assembly that can be simply calculated. Why is that so? There are various types of memory. Each one of them was tested in various methods. Next, there are subtle, or short-term effects on memory, and probably long-term effects. And lastly, frequency, amount, and strains play a huge part in how cannabis affects memory.
Experts are still in the process of figuring out precisely how cannabis triggers issues on memory; however, THC, the main psychoactive element in cannabis, seems to the one responsible.
Based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), experiments on rodents have illustrated that THC modifies the hippocampus, the portion of the brain which deals with information and makes memories.
Damage of the hippocampus is what triggers age-associated memory loss, and THC seems to expedite this process. Rodents that regularly received THC within 8 months lost as numerous brain cells in the hippocampus as rodents double their age, based on NIDA.
Bringing light on the process, a study in 2012 pointed out that THC cripples the linkage between the brain cells in the hippocampus.
Effects of Cannabis in Short-term Memory
THC, the main element in cannabis that provides consumers the euphoric feeling, seems to deteriorate the memory in two essential manners:
Struggles in encoding memories – Although users of cannabis do not go through blackouts just as the drinkers do after a huge binge, it is more complicated to create new memories during the influence of cannabis.
Difficulties in the short-term recall – Remembering the happenings while high, and normally for a certain time after the high diminishes, may be difficult.
Amusingly, studies exhibit that regular users of cannabis may create a tolerance for these kinds of effects. They turn to be less susceptible to these effects and develop fewer struggles remembering events or encoding memories after consumption.
The great news is that in many users, deterioration of the memory seems to be momentary. A study has identified that THC essentially deteriorates recollection after 2 hours of usage; however, no lingering effects existed after 1 to 2 days. Moreover, cannabis does not seem to affect the ability of one person to remember occurring memories. For instance, regardless if you are extremely stoned, you are not like to forget the date of your birth, your address, and the school you attended.
Effects of Cannabis in Long-term memory
High amounts of cannabis that are frequently taken may create an unpleasant effect on long-term memory. In a study made by some researchers, they figured out that people who take too much amount of cannabis within many years created inadequate verbal memory recall compared to people who do not use too much cannabis or do not use it at all.
However, how much was the memory affected?In a study made by Reto Auer, a professor of the
University of Lausanne in Switzerland, it was found out after examining verbal recall, users who regularly take cannabis may, on average, remember 8.5 words out of 15. On the contrary, people who smoked lesser or did not use cannabis at all may remember 9 words out of 15.
Although the distinction of half a word does not appear significant, Professor Auer implied that the more prolonged the consumption is, the worse the memory can get. However, of those people who engaged in the study, at least 8 percent determined themselves as regular consumers.
Noticeably, they did not saw that excessive consumers developed other unpleasant effects on cognitive abilities like processing speed and concentration.
Is it possible to blackout from cannabis?
Cannabis commonly does not create a similar kind of memory loss as drinking binge.
If people drink too much alcohol for a short period, they may encounter incidents of amnesia called alcohol blackouts. Pursuing an alcohol-generated blackout, a person can have spotty memories of what occurred during the night of heavy drinking. Some people completely remember none.
Memory loss related to cannabis is more intriguing. A stoned individual can have difficulty recalling some things they have learned during school days or disremember where they have left their things. The user may feel out of focus and not able to concentrate.
These usual manifestations of cannabis use have shared with the pattern of the hazy, forgetful, and fuzzy cannabis user.
After a certain period, extreme cannabis users may take deliberate damage to the brain. Teenagers who are excessively using cannabis may even drop IQ points during adulthood, based on a study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America in 2012.
Memory loss can be more stringent if an individual drinks alcohol during cannabis smoking. Mixing the two drugs is, at times, considered to as acquiring crossfaded. People who drink binge during high may encounter amnesia.
Consuming more compelling kinds of cannabis like oils may enhance the possibility of severe side effects such as momentary loss of consciousness.
Butane hash oil, which is also named as honey oil, shatter, wax, and budder, is a distilled cannabis product with 5 to 10 times the content of THC as a typical joint. Consumer commonly breathes in the vapors of these oils via a practice called as dabbing.
Cannabis concentrates have made some people lost consciousness. Two out of the six people who used cannabis, which researchers interrogated in an article in 2016 distributed in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, indicated they lost consciousness on the first time they smeared butane hash oil.
Memory issues are one of the most typical reasons people look for medication for cannabis dependence or addiction. Luckily, the study implies that cannabis-associated memory loss is not significantly constant.
A study in 2013 indicated that certain people had encountered a slow development in memory they moment they stop their usage for cannabis. Within 48 hours to 1 month of abstinence, some common cannabis consumers’ memory function had gone back to its normal condition.
Can cannabis secure memory?
Certain studies imply that higher levels of CBD – a kind of non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis, may counteract the memory deterioration caused by THC. Better yet, CBD of cannabis may carry the therapeutic capability to alter or inhibit some cognitive deterioration.
Early studies demonstrated that CBD might shield the brain against deterioration triggered by abuse in alcohol or binge drinking. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) said that CBD lowered alcohol-generated cell death in the brain by up to 60 percent.
Other researches have demonstrated that CBD may serve as a neuroprotectant and work to inhibit the formation of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, or Parkinson’s.
Although more studies on cannabis and memory loss are still required, some proofs say that excessive, prolonged use of cannabis may create negative effects on the memory. Nevertheless, many short-term effects of cannabis on memory are fading. CBD, which is not psychoactive, can have advantages in terms of enhancing memory and apprehension in certain people. There is also proof that the earlier you start consuming cannabis, the more unpleasant effects it can create on your apprehension and memory. Hence this is one thing to consider.