Is there really a correlation between marijuana and memory? We think someone told us something about it once…but we forgot. You know the stereotype- that all stoners are forgetful and hazy individuals, but what does the really science say? There are quite a few different types of memory including short and long term, verbal and spatial just to name a few. This makes memory as a general concept a difficult thing to measure. However, there is one neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine that regulates all types of memory. So how does THC and CBD effect this fancy sounding chemical?
THC and Short-Term Memory Loss
Emma Chasen is a cannabis expert and educator who spoke to Herb on the topic of pot related forgetfulness. She explained that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine gets broken down by an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. Issues with memory arise when there is too much or too much of this enzyme. Now THC inhibits this enzyme from breaking down. “That’s good if you need more acetylcholine, not so good if you don’t need more,” Chasen said. So in this way, THC can impact short-term memory as well as the an individuals ability to form new memories. But, the memory loss only lasts for as long as the high does, according to this study.
Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Memory
The research surrounding possible long-term effects of marijuana on memory are conflicting. Some studies suggest that regular pot use over five years or more leads to poorer memory recall. This means that pot may have the ability to permanently damage short-term memory. However, many other studies claim that there is not a strong enough correlation.
CBD May Counteract Memory Loss Caused by THC
CBD is the non-intoxicating cannabinioid in cannabis that can fight many unwanted effects caused by THC. In order to combat short-term memory loss and challenges recalling memories while high, choose strains that are high in CBD. There is still more research to be done on marijuana and memory.