If you ask anyone about the expected side effects associated with smoking Weed, the chances are that you will hear the frequently toted forgetful stoner stereotype.
Everyone knows that smoking Weed makes you forgetful, right?
Well, it turns out that this might not actually be the case. A new study demonstrates that Marijuana smoke might actually increase memory performance in humans.
Let’s take a look at this study and what it means for Marijuana and your memory.
The Study Itself
The study was published in December 2018 by a myriad of different authors, more easily referred to as Blaes et al, in the Journal for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
The study was focused on testing whether or not Marijuana actually had an effect on working memory performance.
To test it, the researchers divided up two groups of rats by gender, using 15 male and 16 females, and had them trained in a food motivated delayed response working memory task. In other words, they were encouraged through for succeed in a working memory task, encouraging them to accurately remember and succeed at the tasks given to them by rewarding them with food.
During the test, they were treated with Marijuana smoke, and then their ability to succeed at the tasks was once again tested.
The key premise behind the experiment was the fact that, during many other preclinical studies, Marijuana was demonstrated to act negatively on memory. However, in these tests, Marijuana was always administered using an injection of Cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream.
For the majority of worldwide Marijuana smokers, this is not the correct method of imbibing – smoking using a joint or pipe is far more popular.
So this recent experiment wanted to test whether or not the methodology of all the previous experiments was incorrect due to their use of injections, rather than Marijuana smoke.
The experiment demonstrated that, generally speaking, Marijuana in fact improved the memory recall abilities of the rats.
The male rats were actually not affected by the Marijuana smoke, as they didn’t demonstrate any kind of memory focus change; however, the females demonstrated a greatly increased memory capacity, scoring much higher on the memory challenges. This is significant because the females seemed to naturally score lower than the males using base line testing.
So, female rats had less working memory capacity than males, but when both were dosed with Marijuana, the females demonstrated a huge growth in working memory.
What Does This Mean For Us?
On first reading the study, you might immediately conclude that this doesn’t have any bearing on us; after all, we aren’t rats, we are humans!
In actuality, mankind is eerily similar in genetic and biological structure to rats, which is why in most tests and experiments we use rats as the samples.
This study thus demonstrates that Marijuana could have a significant effect on improving the memory capacity, as well as the recall ability, of women by imbibing Marijuana.
Many studies have been conducted previously that state that this is actually the opposite of the truth, that instead of improving memory, Marijuana actually diminishes the capacity for humans to retain information and apply that information at a critical point.
Studies such as this one put the blame on Marijuana strains with an especially high quantity of THC compared to CBD, saying that the increased amount of THC causes a higher level of impairment, making it difficult to utilize memory functions in the brain.
This neurochemical specificity gets quite difficult to actually discuss when you are studying humans that are high, as the very act of testing on humans that have imbibed high quantities of THC is near impossible, due to their highness.
However, a high person’s unwillingness to apply themselves to a memory task is not necessarily indicative of their actual mental capacity at the task.
This study by Blaes et al demonstrates that, when you take out the human element, the memory functions of the human brain can actually be improved by the use of Marijuana.
The study goes on to state that the level and quantity of THC and CBD in the Marijuana smoke requires further testing, as they theorize that different quantities and different strains could have drastically different effects.
An important thing to remember is that this is just one study; there needs to be many, many more studies on this same subject matter to be able to conclusively say that their hypothesis is true.
Additionally, it is also important to consider whether or not the study is entirely trustworthy.
Are There Any Problems With The Study?
This study is published in an esteemed scientific journal by several renowned scientists, so it would go without saying that their data can be trusted, right?
Well, as with any form of scientific study, the data will need reinvestigating in an additional test. One of the founding principles of scientific inquiry is the process of testing and retesting a theory, again and again with different methodologies and different subjects and researchers, so as to best prove whether or not the study’s hypothesis.
This isn’t to say the study is entirely scientifically sound, though; there are a few problems with it.
The primary hypothesis of the experiment was the theory that Marijuana smoke, rather than the injecting of Cannabinoids, could have a positive effect on the memory of rats.
To demonstrate this, the rats were dosed with Marijuana, and then subjected to a food-based memory puzzle.
The most likely contention many could have with this study is the method of Marijuana imbibing for the rats. The study claims that the “rats were exposed to smoke generated by burning different numbers of cannabis or placebo cigarettes”.
Any regular Marijuana smoker should immediately see a problem with this; just because the rats were put near Marijuana smoke doesn’t actually mean that they imbibed it.
A common mistake for many first time Marijuana smokers is not breathing in the smoke properly. To actually extract the THC from the billowing smoke cloud, you need to not just breathe it in, but actually breathe it in the same way you would breath in oxygen, then hold it in your lungs for a few seconds.
Many people only get a little bit of smoke, and then think that they have imbibed Marijuana but… they haven’t.
There is no mention in the study of steps taken to prevent this possibility; how do they know that the rats actually breathed it in – did they hold their breath? Do rats typically do this in dangerous situations?
The study does not make mention of any efforts to combat this, leading to the possibility that the rats were either not dosed with Marijuana at all, or only a few rats actually breathed in enough Marijuana smoke to affect them.
This makes the study a little bit difficult to completely trust, as it lacks concrete proof that the hypothesis itself was tested.
Final Thoughts – Does Marijuana Help Aid Memory Performance?
While it is important to be continuously critical of any new scientific studies that are published (after all, scientific rigor is tested by constantly checking and rechecking data through additional studies), it is also important to keep an eye on the bright side.,
Regardless of any spotty methodology conducted in this study, this still demonstrates a huge potential for the use of Marijuana.
For starters, Marijuana could actually be used as a medicinal aid to help those suffering from memory problems; it is theoretically possible that we simply need to find the right strain with just the right blend of CBD and THC to provide the most efficient effects, in the same way that we have found the perfect blend of Cannabinoids to treat Epilepsy through CBD Oil.
Additionally, this study is important for helping dispel myths and suspicions about Marijuana – when there exists a multitude of problematic negative associations with a drug like Marijuana, it makes people naturally disinclined to try it, or even go so far as to actively oppose it out of a fear of its side effects.
If we can demonstrate, definitively and with ample proof, that Marijuana does not damage your ability to use your memory functions, as well as perform recall activities, we will have removed one more impediment towards Marijuana getting fully legalized and legitimized.
Moreover, Marijuana actually improving memory functions simply provides another reason for people to consider trying Marijuana; not that every single person on earth should be full on stoners, but there are a lot of people out there that could use the medicinal and relaxation effects of Marijuana in their daily lives.
Though this study does definitely have some problems, both in methodology and its lack of supported studies, it demonstrates a huge potential for the growing age of Marijuana.
If it can be re-tested and further proved in other laboratories and studies, then Marijuana will begin to be fully considered something effective, useful and, above all, safe and without significant side effects.
Keep an eye on more studies in the coming months and years concerning Marijuana and memory ability – we might just see some real studies on humans with definitive proof.