Researchers are beginning to conclude that long-term use of cannabis, or cannabis derived drugs, impairs memory.1 Both recreational users, as well as those using the drug/herb for its therapeutic effects on epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and other conditions may be affected.
Long-term use of cannabis or cannabis derived drugs impairs memory
The study was conducted on mice and found that exposure to the drug over long periods of time resulted in significant memory dysfunction to the point where animals were unable to differentiate between novel and familiar objects.
Important: there are negative side effects of long-term use of cannabinoid agents
There has been a historical lack of data regarding the negative side effects of long-term use of cannabinoid agents, though it is becoming clear that regular, heavy use does increase the risk of experiencing mental health disorders like psychosis and schizophrenia. It is generally acknowledged that cannabis use does affect memory, though these effects are considered acute and transitory by many users. This study shows that there may be long-term memory impairment, which has largely been overlooked, or not understood.
Heavy use increases risk of experiencing mental health disorders like psychosis and schizophrenia
As more individuals are using the drug/herb, because of its legalization in many states and countries, and more potent varieties and products are becoming available, it is important that the negative side effects are clearly known.
Cannabinoid drug WIN 55,212-2
The study specifically looked at the cannabinoid drug WIN 55,212-2 in mice and saw 3 primary side effects related to memory:
- Chronic use/exposure diminished learning ability and memory
- Neuroimaging showed impairment of key areas of the brain necessary for memory and learning.
- Chronic use/exposure inhibited brain regions involved in learning and memory to communicate with each other.
The study highlights that cannabis, and cannabinoid drug agents have a negative side effect profile, just like any other drug. These substances can be extremely effective in treating many conditions, though they are not completely benign. Use of them, as with any therapeutic agent, must take into account the full range of physiological effects that may occur, both over the short-term and long-term.
- Mouro FM, Ribeiro JA, Sebastião AM, Dawson N. Chronic, intermittent treatment with a cannabinoid receptor agonist impairs recognition memory and brain network functional connectivity. J Neurochem. 2018
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Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia though naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.