Medical marijuana is widely used to treat countless ailments, disabilities, and accompanying symptoms. For all the good it may present, can medical marijuana affect your memory and ability to reason?
The Pot of Gold
Whether you’re a medical marijuana advocate or even the extreme opposite, there’s no denying that marijuana has some beneficial medicinal applications. Many tout its assistance with pain relief—and even as a possible application to slow the spread of Alzheimer’s. But, a recent study warns of marijuana’s potential to mess with our memory.
Marijuana is comprised of many active chemicals. Pot researchers point to two specifics, CBD and THC, as worthy potential health care properties.
Cannabidiol (CBD) impacts the brain. This active chemical may be part of why scientists have found that marijuana can help decrease seizure activity, especially in those with epilepsy. Perhaps this is why Parkinson’s patients also report having their tremors soothed.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has pain-relieving properties. Patients with multiple sclerosis report feeling physical relief after smoking marijuana. Cancer sufferers and those with HIV/AIDS find marijuana to be an appetite stimulant as well as nausea deterrent.
NOTE: Overusing or abusing marijuana can have several negative effects. Medical use is different than recreational use. In either scenario, smoking too much pot is not a healthy choice.
Back to the Benefits
Currently, over half of our United States (including the District of Columbia) have laws legalizing pot in some form—mostly for medical use.
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), especially in military veterans, has been eased with medical marijuana use. In the state of New Mexico, PTSD is the #1 reason licenses for marijuana use are prescribed.
A study published by researchers from the University of Nottingham found that chemicals in marijuana are linked to a calming effect on the immune system. More specifically, one benefit is improved gut function. The natural drug’s chemicals interact with cells, strengthening intestinal permeability. This type of study suggests that medical marijuana may help with symptoms of Crohn’s, IBS, and colitis.
Many of those suffering from Lupus report that medical marijuana helps them deal with their painful and challenging symptoms.
And since the 1970’s, we’ve learned that smoking pot lowers intraocular pressure. Glaucoma patients feel relief; their pain decreases, but brilliantly, the effects may also slow progression of the disease, which inevitably otherwise would lead to blindness.
Memory at Risk?
A recent study claims that a medical marijuana user’s memory could be affected. The researchers’ hypothesis was based on pot’s interference with blood flow to the brain.
The study scanned almost 1,000 brains of current and past marijuana users. They discovered that almost every area of the brain they scanned (of the pot users) was lower in blood flow and activity. And in the hippocampus region, blood flow was the lowest.
“The hippocampus is the gateway to memory, to get memories into long-term storage,” Dr. Amen, lead researcher, said.
This finding about blood flow is undeniable. However, is that lower function hampering a person’s memory?
From this study, it cannot be concluded. The participants in the study had other mitigating factors that could have presented them with memory challenges. It appears that a large portion of the participants had either a diagnosis of ADHD, physical or emotional brain trauma, or both.
As for now, the best result from this particular study is that it may inform doctors who treat patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They’ll need to further evaluate whether medical marijuana worsens the ability to recall.
As with any treatment, the pros, cons, and side effects always need examination before application. What’s beneficial to one person may not be the best for another. When making choices about your or your family member’s healthcare, always check out every possible treatment with care and attention. Informing yourself can bring peace of mind and, hopefully, greater health. See www.GetThrive.com for more articles on best health options.