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Marijuana and Studying

04/2/2020

Cannabis has gained more popularity in the past decade than it has for the past 100 years. The historic marijuana movement has opened doors for research and exploration into the full potential of this magnificent plant. It makes sense that people are vocal about the ways cannabis has improved their lives and its list of benefits seems to be ever growing. With each study and each state that legalizes cannabis use the negative stigma fades slowly into history. One area that has yet to be determined is how cannabis influences a person’s ability to focus and retain information. Prescription medications such as Adderall are commonly associated with cognitive enhancement for studying. In today’s society more people are looking for more natural and less pharmaceutical ways to give their brains a little boost before finals. Despite the assumption that cannabis impairs the memory, thousands of people claim that cannabis use helps them focus and retain information while studying. Can cannabis improve focus and memory, or is it best kept as a reward after the work is done? As always, we look to science for the answer. As always, this blog simply provides general information about cannabis and in no way gives medical advice of any kind. 

 

How cannabis hinders memory function 

As the old saying goes, there is a small nugget of truth to every stereotype. Unfortunately for the modern stoner, heavy marijuana use does hinder memory function. Marijuana decreases blood flow to the brain’s precuneus which is largely involved in memory and reaction speed. Of course in the case of cannabis, dosing size matters. A separate study looked at how low vs high doses of THC influence memory. The study found that the high dose impaired explicit memory function and absolutely no learning occurred during the time of being intoxicated. It did find that the residual effects were minimal in the 24-48 hours after consumption. And that low doses showed little difference in the subject’s memory. Marijuana use impairs the brain’s ability to create fresh memories which can be a big problem for those who are studying for an important exam. It also makes it difficult to recall memories quickly. It stands to reason that high doses of any “mind altering” substance would be detrimental for focus and memory.    

How cannabis can help you study

Let’s dive into the reason you’re probably reading this, how cannabis can help with studying. We’ve established that the stereotype of the lazy stoner is far from accurate and many have turned to cannabis for a boost in the creative and productive processes. The vast majority of research that has examined how THC affects the brain states that high doses hinder cognitive performance. Low doses of the right strain could however, provide some benefit. Sativa strains are generally considered to be uplifting and could give a needed boost of energy to a study session. Cannabis also increases blood flow to the parts of the brain associated with creativity, so small amounts could help when brainstorming ideas for projects. There is a fair amount of stress that comes with the need to study. This can lead to anxiety and insomnia, and nobody has time for any of that. While it might not help during the study sesh, a heavy indica in the evening could quiet the mind and aid in some much needed rest and relaxation. 

While cannabis’s place in treating ADD and ADHD is still being studied, there is some promising evidence of it being beneficial. According to Medical News Today, marijuana could have a similar impact on neurotransmitters as pharmaceutical medication. Prescription drugs like Adderall work to balance the amount of dopamine in the brain. Short term use of cannabis, specifically THC increases the body’s production of dopamine leading to improved focus and memory. 

Other ways cannabis affects memory

THC and memory function might have a complicated relationship, but it isn’t all bad. Research suggests that cannabis can actually improve memory and slow brain aging in older subjects. A German researchers administered a low dose of THC to young and old mice then examined their performance in learning and memory tasks. They found that the young mice did significantly worse on the low dose of THC than they had before. The group of old mice significantly improved in the areas of learning and memory after the THC was administered. The old mice improved so much that their scores were similar to the sober young mice. These findings are promising for future research on how cannabis can benefit the elderly. According to Alzheimers.net low doses of THC could slow the production and even reduce the amyloid plaques that contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Final Thoughts

Each year it seems like there are more and more ways that cannabis can improve our lives. It seems that people are consuming cannabis with the intention of enhancing certain activities and science is finally starting to catch up to what people have known for centuries. The ability of cannabis to help with memory function is limited and moderation is key. Most of the research that has been done suggests that low doses of cannabis could be beneficial in certain instances, but large doses of THC impair memory and the ability to learn. Ultimately, if you feel that cannabis helps you study, we say go for it. If not, Mary Jane will be there for you to destress after that exam or project. In any case, your local Buddy Boy Brands’ budtender will be able to help you pick out the perfect strain to fit your needs. 

Sources:

https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/cannabis-study-thc-impact-on-memory-and-learning

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/the-effects-of-marijuana-on-your-memory

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931635/

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/effects-of-cannabis-on-memory-function-in-users-with-and-without-a-psychotic-disorder-findings-from-a-combined-metaanalysis/94FE43A373DAE330876DD7FD81812D3D

https://www.leafly.com/news/health/how-does-cannabis-affect-your-memory

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