Does Cannabis Affect Memory?
“Wait what were we just talking about?” is a phrase that has been said by many stoners alike for decades. It’s no secret that when stoned, your memory is often impaired. When looking at how cannabis affects the memory, remember that there are short term and long term effects on memory. Meaning while cannabis may affect your memory in the short term, it likely doesn’t have any long-lasting effects.
Cannabis generally affects your short-term memory in two ways. The first being recall difficulties, while high many people have trouble remembering things that may have just happened. In some cases, this can even persist for a (usually) short period of time after the high wears off. Cannabis also effects your brain’s ability too encode new memories. Although it is nowhere near the extent of getting ‘blackout’ drunk, the memories you have of being high may feel fuzzier with some bits and pieces missing. While these memories might feel fuzzy for now, some studies have shown that frequent cannabis users can often develop a tolerance to the
While these memories might feel fuzzy for now, some studies have shown that frequent cannabis users can often develop a tolerance to the memory-impairing effects cannabis can produce. Cannabis may affect your ability to recall things that happened recently. However, it typically doesn’t affect pre-existing memories, meaning you are unlikely to forget what your name is, where you live, etc.
Dosage may play a role in how much your short-term memory is affected. Typically the larger the dose the more severe memory impairment effects become. The strain you smoke may also have an effect on the level of short-term memory impairment cannabis induces. Some evidence has suggested that CBD may protect memory function, meaning it might be better or worse depending on the CBD percentage in your cannabis. Some have also suggested that genetics may play a role in how much cannabis affects your memory, with some people being genetically predisposed to get better or worse memory-impairing effects.
So just how much does cannabis affect your long-term memory? A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine examined the cannabis habits of 3,000+ Americans over the course of 25 years. During the study, they tested the subjects ability to recall strings of words. Their findings indicated that people who smoked cannabis every day could recall approximately 8.5 out of every 15 words. Conversely those who smoked infrequently or not at all were able to recall 9 out of every 15 words. This suggests that while cannabis may have some effect on long-term memory, any damage is relatively minimal.
In conclusion, it would seem that most adverse long-term memory effects cannabis produces have been generally exaggerated. In contrast concerns regarding cannabis induced short-term memory impairment seems to be legitimate. If you’re stoned 24/7, you’re much more likely to forget things than if you were sober. However, a short break would quickly remedy any memory issues cannabis is causing you. Overall more research needs to be done on the subject, as there are very limited studies/resources on the subject currently.