Can Weed Affect Short-Term Memory?
Ever wondered why you can’t remember some things during and after smoking cannabis? That’s because cannabis has an effect on your memory, specifically your short-term memory. But how can weed affect short-term memory? What does cannabis do to your brain?
How do you form memories?
How memories are formed is somewhat complex.
Everything – an event, a smell, a conversation – is a stimulus for memory formation. This stimulus gets passed from one brain cell to another until it reaches the part of the brain responsible for processing and interpreting the information. The more our brain cells encounter the same stimulus, the stronger the connections between the brain cells become. This forms memory.
However, we don’t remember everything we see, hear, taste, or touch. Our brain can’t hold all these memories. What it does instead is to ‘choose’ what needs to be kept and what doesn’t. Those memories that need to be kept get stored as long-term memories. Those that don’t, get stored as short-term memories. Short-term memory becomes long-term memory when you frequently retrieve the information.
How can weed affect short-term memory?
Cannabis affects short-term memory. It makes memory formation difficult, so you find it harder to form new memories. You’ll also find it harder to retrieve short-term memories as well, but not long-term memories.
Researchers found that THC is responsible for this short-term memory loss. THC binds to the CB1 receptors found in the mitochondria of the brain cells. The mitochondria convert nutrients into energy, which is why they’re called the powerhouse of the cell.
THC,s activation of the mitochondria’s CB1 receptors changes the way it functions. Researchers found that THC makes it harder for the mitochondria to convert nutrients into energy.
Now, our brain cells need this energy to transport memory-forming signals. But with this impaired, we find it difficult to form new memories. This impairment also affects the way we retrieve memories.
THC’s effect on short-term memory is temporary though. Once your high wears off, things will go back to normal without residual effects. Abstaining from cannabis also helps in restoring your memory’s function.
So, can weed affect short-term memory? Yes, it can.
Can weed affect short-term memory and progress to long-term memory problems?
Researchers studied the effects of cannabis on long-term memory. They found that cannabis also has an effect on long-term memory. However, this effect depends on the duration and frequency of cannabis use. It also depends on the cannabis dosage. The study found that chronic and heavy cannabis users have poorer verbal memory, compared to non-cannabis users.
How about CBD?
If THC affects memory, what about CBD then? Can weed affect short-term memory? If the strain is rich in CBD, can it still cause memory problems?
According to one study, CBD decreases THC’s effects on memory. This non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive cannabinoid dampens THC’s potency and reduces its effects on cognitive functions.
Can weed affect short-term memory? Yes, it affects short-term memory. Prolonged and heavy cannabis use also causes long-term memory problems like poor verbal memory.