The relationship between cannabis and the brain is complex. A wide range of studies analyzing the effects of marijuana has been conducted. Some say that it acts as a neuroprotectant, and may help reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. But, some scientific evidence says that cannabis compounds may impair cognitive function, particularly short-term memory.
Let’s discuss the effects of cannabis on the brain & memory, and how to get a medical cannabis card online.
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The Endocannabinoid System
Also known as ECS, the endocannabinoid system is the body’s own cannabinoid system. It comprises a wide range of cannabinoid receptors located in the brain and other regions. Research says that ECS plays a key role in regulating important functions, such as memory, mood, sleep, etc. In other words, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for ensuring a healthy internal environment.
The two primary cannabinoid receptors in the ECS are—CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found in the brain and nervous system. They are the main receptors to which THC binds. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid present in the marijuana plant.
On the other hand, CB2 receptors are responsible for modulating the anti-inflammatory effects of marijuana. Inflammation is one of the major risk factors in many conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Effects on The Brain
There’s a wide range of receptors available in the human brain. These receptors play a vital role in regulating various functions, such as learning, problem-solving, memory, etc.
The cannabinoid receptors are activated by naturally-produced endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, which has a similar chemical structure as THC. In other words, THC mimics the function of anandamide, thus binding to the receptors.
Studies have found that cannabis can help ease symptoms of a wide range of mental health conditions. The list includes anxiety, depression, stress, ADHD, PTSD, etc.
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There’s some clinical evidence that marijuana can impair cognitive function, verbal learning, etc. However, change in brain function isn’t always bad. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that participants who consumed marijuana engage in different patterns of neural activation. They completed a task at the same time by using different brain networks.
According to a study published in the journal Drug & Alcohol Review, there’s no significant difference in memory, new learning, and reaction time between older cannabis users and non-users. The participants were tested for various factors such as frequency of marijuana use, dosage, duration of use, and concentration of different cannabinoids. So, cannabis doesn’t deliver long-term negative effects to the brain in older adults.
Does Marijuana Mess With Memory?
Many think that smoking cannabis results in a lower IQ. Does that mean that marijuana consumption makes users stupid?
Not really. In a review published in the journal Neuropsychology, Canadian researchers determined the long-term cognitive effects of cannabis use. They reported that impairment in memory and verbal learning caused by marijuana appears to resolve between 7 and 28 days of sustained abstinence. Moreover, they wrote that years of regular use were inversely related to longer periods of abstinence and verbal learning performance.
Another study conducted in 2018 reported that cannabis impairment in verbal learning lasts for 24 hours after usage. The impairment is reduced to half in 1-3 days.
Additionally, research says that CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is effective in producing more neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a major role in memory and learning.
Cannabinoids in marijuana possess amazing medicinal properties. They can help regulate certain brain functions by binding to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, just like endocannabinoids. Cannabis is proven helpful for fighting anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
Research says that cannabis doesn’t cause long-term memory problems among older adults. However, it’s important to dose marijuana properly to avoid overdose and other related side-effects.
If you want to access marijuana for medical purposes, you need to apply for a medical cannabis card. Now, with telemedicine technology, it’s very easy to see a licensed doctor online. Here’s the process-
- Sign up for an account
- Talk to a licensed doctor through the HIPAA-compliant software
- Receive MMJ recs in PDF format via email