Does Marijuana Cause Memory Loss?


| 3 Comments
With the recent legalizing of marijuana in Colorado, and having medical marijuana legal in 17 other states, the subject of marijuana is starting to become more appropriate (possibly appropriate enough for a blog in SC200). We all know that it is illegal, and we all know that many people have experimented with it. I myself have experimented with it many of times, and I never really felt any side effects. Maybe there is a side effect that you can't really feel or sense, memory loss. I've always heard the rumor that it did, but I never really did any scientific research on the subject. Here goes nothing.

When THC is inhaled, it passes rapidly from the lungs through the bloodstream, which gets carried to the brain. (THC is the chemical that gives you the high feeling, tetrahydrocannabinol) The THC hits parts of your brain where cannabinoid receptors are. Cannabinoid receptors can influence memory, pleasure, thinking, concentrating, sensory, time perception, and coordinated movement. THC can cause problems with learning and memory for the short time when you are "high". It may also affect you for a few days or even up to a week after. Studies have not yet been able to detect whether it has a long term effect on your memory, but it definitely decreases your ability to learn, comprehend, and memorize during your high and within an average of a few days of the high.

marijuana-brain.gif
 
In one study involving lab rats, the rate were given THC and the effects on there brain were studied. The studies found that the THC weakens the connections between neurons in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a structure that is crucial for memory formation. The hippocampus serves a major role in new memories and experienced events. This would mean that short term and long term memory loss, but it is still not proven that long term memory loss is prevalent .

From personal experience, I have never felt any memory loss. I have friends who have never smoked marijuana at all, and I still performed better academically in the classroom. As for studying, I never experienced any problems memorizing. So, for habitual users, short term memory loss is definitely something to be concerned about. Although long term memory loss is not proven, I would still think twice about using marijuana because it could possibly affect it, not to mention there are other side effects besides memory loss in marijuana. 

Don't be afraid to respond with personal experiences, you won't get in trouble. This is what blogging is all about. I am very curious to hear what everyone has experienced. Thanks.

3 Comments

Im not going to use personal experience on a class site but your post definitely interested me. When you said that during your high it hinders your ability to learn and memorize information and thats an interesting point. I remember in the movie about smoking called Super High Me (not the most official of sources i know) he took tests sober, and then high, and he actually did slightly better on a few tests while high. My own theory on this, while I agree with the science part of it is that things are so much more interesting and intriguing while using it, so when sober and not using it since everything is much less stimulating and interesting your brain just kind of coasts and doesn't pay attention because frankly it doesn't find them interesting.

Id also like to see more studies done on rats or other animals when you brought up the fact that one study was done. It is difficult to draw conclusions on one study and the fact that you only found one worries me in the first place. I feel as though a lot more science should be done on this issue, because it is very current and obviously a hot topic. I think if more people were informed about it, like we are informed about alcohol and tobacco, people could make more informed decisions about its use, whether it be legalization, etc.. etc. I think this is a field of science that could use a lot more coverage.

While you state that smoking marijuana causes memory loss and inability to learn, I think it depends on each person individually. Some people claim they work better high. Sure, this could just be a delusion, but I am sure for some it is true.
Your blog mentions that although marijuana has not yet shown to cause long term memory loss, it does cause short term memory loss. An even bigger negative side effect of marijuana is the smoking itself. Smoking itself, regardless of what, is bad for our lungs. While the negative side effects are unfortunate, it is a personal choice to smoke, just like cigarettes.
I would assume the method in which one smokes weed can also make a difference on their health. Some see joints as the more natural way, and as glass being the unnatural way. With glass such as bongs or bowls, the smoke quickly rushes to your head, as oppose to joints that have a slower reaction time. Other common methods mentioned by Steady Health include pipes, shotguns, and one-hitters. Any method that you use, the marijuana needs to be heated to a certain temperature in order for the THC to be ignited.
Another interesting aspect the article also mentions is that different marijuana’s can contain different THC levels depending on the potency of the bud. They have found that in recent years, the concentration of THC has become even stronger. Does this mean that smoking marijuana has become unhealthier, not only because of the smoking part, but because of the potency of THC?
Astonishingly, after gathering 20 years of data, Men’s Health News claims “that pot smokers seemed to have better lung function than people who didn’t smoke at all.” They think this is true because pot smokers build up their lung capacity when they have to intake the hits of the marijuana, followed by breaths of air to increase the high.

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