Experts say there is still so much work to do in the study of cannabis since the only two best-researched components of the plant are delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
For the longest time now, we have read pieces that say weed affect memory in some ways. Not much research has been done in this area, especially regarding long-term memory loss, but even this mention is enough to elicit emotions among users. There is sufficient write-up in respected sites such as askgrowers.com that could explore this area further, so anyone that needs to know more has options when seeking some reading. Now, is weed bad for your brain in the long run? To some extent, it could limit your ability to remember some things.
What Studies Say About Weed and Memory Loss
The brain has natural cannabinoid receptors, and THC and CBD bind to them, albeit differently. THC binds in a way that causes euphoria, but CBD dampens this euphoria by interfering with the binding process. This is why it is recommended that we balance the two to reduce a weed high.
Cannabis with high levels of THC is detrimental to one’s memory and mental health as it exposes the brain to forgetfulness in the short term. It also leads to psychotic outcomes, especially in younger users, but those over 50 may not feel these effects similarly. Studies are not enough yet to show whether this memory loss is caused solely by cannabis, as those studied may have used other drugs alongside weed or have a history of drug abuse.
In adolescents, heavy use of cannabis causes thinner temporal and frontal cortices, areas that are usually responsible for memory processing. If this happens, a person loses their ability to remember in the short term and the interest to discover things. Given that people at this age are students, this affects their studies negatively and their interest in engaging with those in their age groups. Even though negative effects on cognitive functioning in people over 50 are not severe, there are no extensive studies showing how and why this is the case.
If you use marijuana daily at a heavier rate than normal, you will likely suffer permanent short-term memory impairment that persists for a long. This means 4-6 blunts every week for several years – the frequency that could get you into trouble. This naturally happens with high THC strains with low levels of CBD to balance things out.
First, it is not all gloom and no fun-fare for users that have lost short-term memory to cannabis. A 2017 study shows it can be reversed through abstinence from the product. More studies show that CBD can slow down neurodegenerative illnesses like Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease with the right dosage. We mentioned what CDB does to the binding process to the brain receptors, which is how it helps slow down this degeneration. Since CBD has nonpsychoactive properties, there are no risks of addiction or the euphoria associated with THC.
How to Prevent Negative Reactions to Cannabis
The best way to avoid addiction and weed dependency is by relating respectfully to it. If you must smoke for recreational purposes, you want to limit your usage, especially with peers. Fort medical use, you want to stick to your dosage since even that can be abused. When you feel like you are slipping by using too much weed to counter sadness or depression, you want to seek help for addiction before it gets out of hand. Smoking once or twice a week is okay as it does not plunge you into dependency and will not affect your memory, but you should be concerned if you need to indulge more regularly.
What Next after Memory Loss?
Studies show the temporary loss can be reversed, so there is hope even for those that have been using it relatively heavily for long. If nature does not take its course even with the cessation of use, there is cognitive remediation therapy that has been working for those that need to revamp their psychosocial functioning. The process involves a treatment schedule that spans several weeks and assignments to get the user to regain attention for longer than a minute, their working memory, cognitive flexibility, and planning to go back to normal function.
How does alcohol compare to weed use? Alcohol is seen to be far more damaging if abused for long. If you combine them, you are looking at even worse addiction tendencies, and your long-term memory may be worse for wear then. What is the sweet spot as far as cannabis is concerned? Use it in moderation, as is the norm with anything else. Small doses of weed will not cause memory loss and could keep those degenerative conditions at bay.