How Cannabis Can Alter Your Memory

Marijuana can affect both long-term and short-term memory, although the extent of the effect can vary depending on several factors, such as the amount and frequency of use, the potency of the strain, and individual factors such as age, genetics, pre-existing mental health conditions and prior drug use.

Short-term memory impairment is one of the most well-known effects of marijuana use. This means that while under the influence of marijuana, it can be more difficult to retain information and recall it later on. This can make it more challenging to concentrate and follow through with tasks, which can lead to difficulties in learning and academic or professional performance. However, these effects are typically temporary and will usually wear off as the drug wears off. I’m sure many of those who’ve tried cannabis are all too familiar with losing their train of thought in the middle of a sentence. 

Long-term marijuana use may also affect memory. Some studies suggest that chronic use can lead to structural changes in the brain’s hippocampus, which is involved in the formation and retrieval of memories. This can potentially result in long-term memory impairment, particularly in adolescents and young adults whose brains are still developing. However, the evidence is still somewhat mixed, and more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of marijuana use on memory. I always suggest erring on the side of caution when it comes to adolescents.  

It’s also worth noting that some studies suggest that certain compounds found in marijuana, such as CBD, may actually have a protective effect on memory and cognitive function, although more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of using these compounds for this purpose.

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NIDA. 2021, April 19. What are marijuana’s effects?. Retrieved from on 2023, March 12

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