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Short-Term Memory Loss

Does Marijuana Cause Memory Loss

If you’re already a medical marijuana patient, you’re probably aware of marijuana’s effect on memory. You take your medication, and suddenly you can’t remember where your purse is or walk into a room only to forget why you went in there. This can be a disconcerting feeling, but don’t worry. Memory loss is a common side effect and one that can be managed.

Studies are now reporting what we already know. There is a link between cannabis and memory loss. However, these research projects show that it only affects short-term memories and will not cause long-term memory loss. But why does it happen? And is there anything you can do to avoid it?

How Does Cannabis Affect Your Memory?

The reason that cannabis affects your memory is the same reason it is a useful medicinal treatment — because of marijuana’s link to our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabis is comprised of more than a hundred compounds called cannabinoids — this includes CBD and THC. These are similar in structure to cannabinoids found naturally in our ECS.

Our body’s cannabinoids act as neurotransmitters, sending signals between nerve cells throughout the body and brain cells. This lets the ECS serve as a bridge between our mind and body. Cannabinoids affect many different brain regions, such as those responsible for movement, the perception of senses, emotion, thinking and memory. The cannabinoid THC found in marijuana particularly affects the hippocampus, where new memories are formed.

Only if someone uses an unsuitable amount of marijuana is there a danger to our brain’s memory function. A research study based out of the University of Lausanne found those who habitually smoked pot every day for five years or more had poorer verbal memory, which is tied to short-term memory formation. This was not the case with those who smoked less.

The study also found the relationship between memory loss and marijuana is linear. Essentially, the more cannabis smoked, the worse a person’s memory was. However, it also discovered that other cognitive functions, like the ability to focus and process, were not affected by the amount of weed the participant used.

Preventing Memory Loss Caused by Cannabis

To avoid any long-term repercussions to your memory due to cannabis use, moderation is key. In the meantime, here are some things that are known to improve brain function, keeping your thinker in tip-top shape:

  • Healthy Diet: Providing your body and brain with essential nutrients is vital to a healthier you. It’s been shown that diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins are crucial to brain health. They help build up myelin, a protective fat-based insulation that surrounds the brain’s neurons.
  • Exercise: We all know exercise helps your body, but did you know it helps your brain, too? It aids the production of new neurons, especially in the areas responsible for memory.
  • Sleep: Sleep is an important time for all of us. We wake up feeling refreshed and energized, but it’s also when our short-term memories are converted into long-term ones. Sleep deprivation affects this necessary function. Plus, lack of sleep causes difficulties focusing or engaging fully.
  • Mental Health Exercises: If you’re concerned about keeping your brain healthy, simple brain exercises help you practice verbal memory skills. These include memory games, memorizing poems, writing, attending lectures and a whole myriad of other engaging activities.

Speak to Your Doctor Today

If you’re concerned about medical marijuana causing short-term memory loss, speak to your physician today. Following your doctor’s recommended dosage for cannabis medication alleviates the risk of damage to your short-term memory function. Like all medications, medical marijuana has downsides. However, it’s also proving to be an incredible treatment for several different medical conditions, aiding many across the nation.

To get your medical marijuana card and dosage recommendation, you need to speak to your doctor — our advice shouldn’t replace that of a qualified medical professional. So, make an appointment with a marijuana certified doctor or visit a local dispensary today.

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This information is not provided by medical professionals and is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals.  If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.

 

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