Effects of Cannabis on Memory: Remembering & Forgetting
The association between cannabis use and poor memory is age-old, and is so prevalent that it has been adopted as part of the standard stereotyping of cannabis users. Studies have indicated a connection—but could cannabis also help to improve memory in certain circumstances, such as in cases of brain injury? How does cannabis encourage episodic memory recall?
Memory remains one of the most mysterious aspects of the human brain to all disciplines concerned with this phenomenon: neuroscience, biology and psychology. The encoding of memory and experience into a format that can be recalled, either on demand or subconsciously, is fundamental to human functioning in the natural world.
From a scientific standpoint, memory can be somewhat explained in terms of brain regions and how neurons transmit and store information in certain areas of the brain. From a psychological standpoint, memory is linked with a myriad of mental illnesses such as PTSD, and at the same time, is also a mechanism that can be used for psychological healing.
Cannabis’ effects on memory are associated with negative effects most commonly, such as short-term memory impairment. However, certain aspects of cannabis’ effects on memory, which may even be positive, are often neglected by modern science.
Cannabinoids, memory and modern science
There have been dozens of studies into the relationship between cannabis use and memory impairment. It is generally accepted that acute cannabis intoxication causes impairment of short-term episodic and working memory, which is thought to persist for several weeks subsequent to consumption (in long-term users).
However, a handful of studies have found little to no significant long term effect. As impairments are thought to be dependent on various factors including the ratio of cannabinoids, duration and frequency of use, it may be that differences in methodology account for these inconsistent results.
There are indications that cannabis-induced impairment to working visuospatial memory disproportionately affects women, with heavier users experiencing greater impairment than light users. This fact should be taken into consideration in future studies, and men and women should be investigated separately to establish the most accurate results.
The fact that several studies have found no statistical significance in the relationship between memory and cannabis use may be because women were underrepresented in these studies. This is a problem that plagues many investigations into use of psychoactive substances, which overall are more widely used by men.
With chronic, heavy cannabis use, a study showed impaired encoding, storage, manipulation and retrieval mechanisms. These impairments are similar to those associated with acute intoxication. They’ve been related to the duration, frequency, dose and age of onset of cannabis use.
Age may play a part in determining the extent of long-term impairment. Some studies have indicated that cannabis-dependent adolescents can have selective short-term memory deficits that continue for at least 6 weeks after the last use of cannabis. These deficits can be auditory, verbal and visual/spatial. They’re hypothesized to occur due to functional changes in the developing brain that may be caused by early cannabis use.
Salvia Divinorum 101: Use, Effects, History & Science
Brain activity on cannabis
Magnetic resonance imaging and similar techniques have revealed that when intoxicated by cannabis, humans utilise different areas of the brain to complete tasks associated with learning, retention of information, and memory.
A study published in 2006 concluded that cannabis users display lower brain activity than non-users in certain regions involved in associative learning, particularly the parahippocampal regions and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, despite performing normally in learning tasks.
Analysis of the parahippocampal regions revealed no structural differences between cannabis users and non-users. Thus, lower brain activity and resultant memory impairment may not signify damage to neural tissues, but may be the result of a separate variable associated with cannabis use, such as changes in cerebral blood flow.
A separate study also indicated significant impairment in learning and memory performance on a task that is known to activate the hippocampal region. Cannabis users performed worse with respect to learning, and with short and long-term memory performance. During learning, cannabis users had higher Blood-oxygen-level-dependent imaging activity in the right parahippocampal gyrus. These results indicate functional deficits and compensatory processes in cannabis users.
It is widely believed that cortex rather than hippocampus is the main locus of information storage, but hippocampus is needed to help place certain kinds of memory into cortex. Although their respective roles are not fully understood, it is thought that the cortices are primarily involved in storage of information, while the hippocampal regions are associated with procedural memory and priming.
CB1-receptor antagonists and memory
Researchers hypothesize that cannabidiol mitigates the memory-impairing effects of THC by binding to the CB1 receptor and rendering it inactive. Ligands which bind to but do not activate receptors are known as antagonists; beyond THC, various other cannabinoids have been identified as CB1-receptor antagonists.
The synthetic CB1-receptor antagonist SR141716, also known as rimonabant, has been found on more than one occasion to counteract memory impairment caused by THC. Specifically, SR141716 antagonizes the inhibition of hippocampal long-term potentiation.
Long term-potentiation is a crucial neuronal process that contributes greatly to the overall process of memory formation. Long-term potentiation with respect to learning and memory mainly occurs in the hippocampal region, and is inhibited by elevated levels of endogenous CB-1 receptor agonist, anandamide. Separate research has confirmed that anandamide itself has a similar memory-impairing effect.
Chris Conrad & Mikki Norris: Their Interviews & Story
Cannabidiol and memory
Several studies have indicated that THC adversely affects memory while cannabidiol actually mediates this effect. By binding to the CB1 receptors and causing them to be unaffected by the presence of THC molecules, CBD lessens the effect on short-term memory recall.
A study from 2010 investigated and compared the results of memory and learning tests of people using high-CBD varieties versus those using low-CBD varieties. The cannabinoid content of samples collected from study participants (all frequent users) were analysed. THC content of all samples was found to be consistent.
Users consuming low-CBD varieties (containing less than 0.14% CBD) showed significant impairment in memory tasks at the time of intoxication. Those consuming high-CBD varieties (containing more than 0.75% CBD) showed no impairment. This suggests that CBD’s antagonistic effect on the CB1 receptor mitigates the memory-impairing effect of THC.
A separate study using rats showed that high-CBD extracts had no effect on working and short-term memory, even in the presence of high concentrations of THC. However, when additional THC was administered, high-CBD-rich extracts did not reverse subsequent memory impairment. Thus, it appears that impairment of spatial working and short-term memory is dependent on the ratio between CBD and THC.
CBD and perinatal brain injury
CBD has been shown to provide a neuroprotective influence on newborn rats subject to hypoxia-ischemia, a common cause of perinatal brain injury that can severely affect learning and memory consolidation. CBD mitigates inflammation levels and reduces oxidative stress subsequent to brain injury, preventing cell death and reducing the extent of tissue damage compared to controls. This enables developmental processes to continue, and allows the person to achieve greater overall cognitive ability in adulthood.
A separate study demonstrated that young rats subject to memory impairment induced by iron toxicity experienced improvements in memory when treated with CBD upon reaching adulthood. This suggests a possibility that CBD can reverse memory impairment as well as prevent it. If these results can be replicated in humans, it could lead to the development of much-needed additions to the limited range of treatment options currently available for recovery of memory.
Memory improvement in degenerative brain disease
In healthy people, it appears that THC has significant effects on memory, but that CBD helps to mediate this impairment. However, in people suffering from certain degenerative diseases, it appears that both THC and CBD can exert a neuroprotective effect, inhibit ongoing impairment of memory, and potentially even improving it.
The potential for cannabinoid therapies to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and potentially even assist in repairing damaged brain tissue is well-researched. Cannabinoid therapies can reduce the persistent inflammation of brain tissues that ultimately leads to neuronal death in Alzheimer’s, as well as assisting in the regulation of glutamatergic transmission. This process is crucial to the long-term potentiation of memories. Cannabinoids are also known to reduce the characteristic plaques that form in neural tissue as a result of Alzheimer’s.
It appears that THC and other CB1-receptor agonists are the key to this process, as the synthetic cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 has also been shown to reduce brain tissue inflammation and improve working memory in older rats. Another similar study indicated that older rats also underwent neurogenesis (growth of new neural cells) in the hippocampus when treated with WIN 55,212-2, as well as showing marked improvements in cognitive abilities.
As well as THC and CBD, there may be other compounds contained within cannabis that can assist in memory improvement in degenerative brain disease. Terpenoids and flavonoids found in various plant species have been shown to improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients. While no specific research into cannabis terpenoids and Alzheimer’s exists, it is possible that they exert an effect, at least in the context of the entourage effect.
Importance of THC in forgetting
While much is made of cannabis’ ability to impair memory, this property could also be useful in medicine. A little-considered potential application for THC in medicine is in the suppression or erasure of negative or traumatic memories, such as in those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Acquisition and retention of negative memories is a crucial part of learning to avoid danger by developing behavioural responses. If a negative experience occurs repeatedly, the response is consolidated and becomes instinctive. Without such reinforcement, the response diminishes over time until it is non-existent. However, in people subject to severe, repeated trauma, the response does not diminish even when the original stimulus is no longer present.
As our understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system (particularly the CB1-receptor) in memory and learning grows, it is becoming clear that it is crucial to the extinction of aversive memories. A study published in 2002 demonstrated that mice deficient in CB1-receptors exhibited reduced ability to extinguish aversive memories when subjected to auditory fear-conditioning tests while showing no impairment in learning or memory acquisition. Activation of the CB1-receptor by an agonist such as anandamide is crucial to the extinction of memories. Thus, THC is likely to be useful in the long-term management of PTSD and related disorders.
Acute and Long-Term Cognitive Side-Effects of Cannabis
Enhancement of episodic memory retrieval
Sebastian Marincolo describes in his essay on marijuana-insights.com that many cannabis users have reported an enhancement of what cognitive scientists have called “episodic memory” or “autobiographical memory”.ction of past events than usual. This includes the resurfacing of repressed memories while high on cannabis or simply recalling childhood memories.
Carl Sagan makes a special reference to cannabis’ effects on episodic memory in his now famous article, Mr X. Specifically, he writes in his article:
“When I’m high I can penetrate into the past, recall childhood memories, friends, relatives, playthings, streets, smells, sounds, and tastes from a vanished era. I can reconstruct the actual occurrences in childhood events only half understood at the time.”
In another personal account story from Lester Grinspoon’s blog, marijuana-uses.com, a 19-year-old computer programmer, Mackenzie Cross, writes in his personal account “What I like about Marijuana”:
“Memories seemed to force themselves upon me, very rapid but very gentle. I started to remember things in my childhood that made me truly happy and joyful. Things I had either forgotten or just simply didn’t give the time of day to. I remembered raising my hands up as a signal for my mother that I wanted to be carried and the utter joy I felt when she would reach down and pull me up to her chest. I realized how much she really did, in fact, love me when I remembered how I longed for her goodnight kisses, of which never ran dry.”
It is not altogether uncommon for cannabis users to report these bouts of episodic memory retrieval. They are often linked with strong emotions, just as Carl Sagan and Mackenzie Cross describe in their personal experience stories. This suggests a strong connection between emotion and episodic memory, and this poses an interesting area of research on the topic of cannabis’ effects on memory.
Episodic memory, introspection, emotion and empathy
These two reports are good examples of how cannabis not only enhances episodic memory retrieval, but also the emotional context of those memories. In fact, it is hypothesized in psychological studies that emotional often allows for greater recall of context, but not necessarily of items. This may serve to explain why cannabis enhances episodic memory but potentially distorts short-term memory. The CB1 receptors are present in high concentrations in brain structures that are critical for emotional processing, like the basolateral amygdala, and the prelimbic division of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC).
Sebastian Marincolo explains that enhanced episodic memory during a high could be at least a partial explanation as to why many cannabis users report introspective, as well as empathic, insights into others. Interestingly, this has also piqued the curiosity of some scientific researchers. In this study, the authors found that cannabis users were more sensitive to angry faces than happy faces, suggesting a stronger empathy towards negative emotion.
Psychologically speaking, empathy is seen as a positive trait that promotes prosocial behaviour and moral reasoning. Furthermore, episodic memory and empathy are considered to be cognitive abilities that are intrinsically linked, although very few scientific studies have been performed to confirm the extent of this link.
The function of episodic memory for the purpose of introspection, reflection and empathic behaviour is crucial. All of this considered, it is somewhat a phenomenon that cannabis can induce such powerful bouts of episodic memory retrieval. Plus, this effect of cannabis on human memory can be considered a positive one.
The research on cannabis’ effects on episodic memory is virtually non-existent, but regretfully so. Aside from being a particularly interesting area of research, it may also have important implications for the use of cannabis in psychological or psychiatric practice.
While the old stereotype that cannabis use leads to impaired memory generally appears to hold true, it is clear that the relationship between the endocannabinoid system, learning and memory is highly complex and cannot be broken down so simplistically.
In normal conditions, the actions of THC do impair memory, but these effects are mitigated and potentially cancelled out entirely by the presence of CBD in certain ratios. Furthermore, THC and CBD, and other cannabis compounds may exert neuroprotective effects in degenerative brain disease and injury, and may assist in memory recovery.
On top of this, modern scientific inquiry into the topic has assumed, for the most part, that memory impairment is a negative aspect of cannabis use. However, in cases such as PTSD, memory impairment might actually have a medical application.
Another interesting thing to observe is that anandamide, the body’s endogenous cannabinoid, is also responsible for making a person forget, as well as for elevating mood. This was one of the vital characteristics that made it qualify for the name anandamide, ananda meaning “bliss” in Sanskrit. Michael Pollan, in his book, Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of The World, talks about forgetting as a prerequisite for human happiness. He says, “Do you really want to remember every face you saw on the subway this morning?”
If anything, our lack of research into cannabis’ effects on episodic memory and the implications of those effects shows our little understanding of a complex topic. What we do know is that cannabis can both make a person forget and make a person remember. The two are inextricably linked to emotion, and both of these effects may have a place in the medical application of cannabis.
Cannabis can both enhance and diminish memory recall. Do both effects have a place in medicinal cannabis application? Learn more here.
Cbd words to remember
Yes, you read right. CBD and dyslexia, the pair that no one saw coming.
One symptom of dyslexia is high anxiety when it comes to reading and writing. Most people do not like to read out loud because they are afraid of mispronouncing a word, but people with dyslexia are extremely anxious to read aloud because they subconsciously mix up the letters and words.
CBD formally called cannabidiol, is known to help relieve anxiety. There have also been studies that show CBD can help relieve dyslexia symptoms as well as improve memory.
If a dyslexic person takes CBD, it will relieve his/her anxiety when it comes to reading and writing. If they are less anxious about it, would they perform better?
That is what we are trying to figure out.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that occurs in more than 43 million Americans. Dyslexic people have trouble with reading and writing due to a “disconnect” with the left hemisphere of the brain. People with dyslexia tend to show great brain activity in the lower frontal areas of the brain vs the rear brain systems.
There is a disconnect between the words that they are seeing versus the sound that those words make. They have difficulties with phonics.
A dyslexic person can look at the word “through” and understand what the word means, but when they read it out loud, they might say “though” instead.
Due to this disconnect, people with dyslexia often get frustrated when they have to read aloud to others or write even a small paragraph. They get embarrassed and are hard on themselves, or some of them could get made fun of by others. This only adds more stress to the brain and makes it even more difficult for them to concrete which in turn, adds to the anxiety.
The truth of the matter is, people with dyslexia have moderate to high intelligent levels. Although they may not think this way of themselves due to their dyslexia, studies show that dyslexic patients can be even better readers than those who do not have dyslexia.
What Are Some Signs of Dyslexia?
Symptoms of dyslexia can either show up earlier on in life or they might not appear in adulthood. These signs differ depending on the age group.
- Young Children (Pre-School and Younger)
- Difficulties learning new words despite practice.
- Difficulties recalling words even ones they have just read.
- Difficulties recalling/remembering the names of people, places, and objects.
- Late speech development
- Only able to utter a few words
- Children (Primary and Secondary School)
- Switching letters that look familiar such as “d” and “b” and “p.”
- Rearranges the order of words in a sentence without meaning to.
- Trouble speaking fluently and articulately.
- Reading and comprehension skills are significantly behind their peers.
- Troubles spelling simple words
- Teenagers and Adults
- Trouble memorizing words.
- Commonly mispronounce names and words.
- Difficulties reading aloud.
- Difficulties articulating what they have just read.
- Has an extremely hard time learning new languages.
Is it True that Dyslexia Runs in Families?
There seems to be a genetic link when it comes to learning conditions such as dyslexia. This does not mean that it is guaranteed to be passed on or if one child has it, then all of his/her siblings will as well.
However, it does increase the chances. If one of your children has been diagnosed with dyslexia and you notice your other child has difficulties with reading or writing, it would be a good idea to have your child tested as well.
What are Some Downfalls to Having Dyslexia?
- Difficulties in learning
- It is difficult for those with dyslexia to pick up writing and reading quickly. Since they subconsciously rearrange the order of the sentence or the letters, it will take them longer to memorize certain words and phrases.
- Low self-esteem
- Luckily for us, we live in a time where dyslexia is well known and understood. People do not have to feel as if they are unintelligent because of their dyslexia; however, this is especially difficult for children to comprehend. They do not want to have to take special classes and they do not want to be different. If your child feels upset by his/her dyslexia, make sure to sit him/her down and talk. Encourage your child and let him/her know that there is nothing wrong about them having dyslexia.
- Prone to other learning conditions
- It is not uncommon for those who have a learning condition like dyslexia to also have other learning conditions such as dyscalculia.
- Difficulties grasping new languages
- Children and adults who find it difficult to speak, read, and write in their languages will find it even more difficult to learn a new language. This is not to say that it cannot happen, but that it is more difficult. Children living in a household that speaks multiple languages will find it difficult to pick up on these languages as well.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a chemical found in cannabis Sativa plants (also known as marijuana or hemp). It is all-natural and has relaxing and calming properties once ingested.
There are an array of products that contain CBD, such as:
- Hand cream
- Face cream
- Facial Wash
- Lip Balm
Will CBD get Dyslexic People High?
CBD does not get people high. Most people confuse CBD with THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Although both are found in marijuana plants, they are very different.
We recommend purchasing from any of our CBD health partners: Blessed CBD oil and Nutra CBD olie. These brands have won awards and praiseworthy reviews from major publications from around the world:
Is There Any Treatment for Dyslexia?
There is no cure for dyslexia because dyslexia is not a disease, it is a learning condition. However, there many services and techniques to help dyslexic people.
In public schools, it is under federal law that students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia get extra help from the school. Most of the time, dyslexic students, depending on how severe their situation is, will be assigned to a specially trained teacher. These teachers understand dyslexia well and can come up with creative ideas to help their students.
Some of these techniques include hearing, touch, and vision.
How Will CBD Help Dyslexia?
CBD can help relax dyslexic people to the point where their anxiety does not infer with their learning. More often than not, the anxiety and nervousness of reading and writing will in turn make it even more difficult for dyslexic people to improve their reading and writing skills.
Here are some benefits of CBD for dyslexia:
- Improves sleeping
- Lowers stress levels
- Healing properties for the brain
- Acts as a neuroprotectant
To learn more about CBD (cannabidiol), visit the Hypothesis Journal – a free online resource and knowledge base where scientific-based CBD studies are published regularly by a medically qualified team of writers.
Can You Overdose on CBD?
It is very unlikely.
The worst that could happen is you will become extremely sleepy or you will get diarrhea. However, to avoid this happening, please consult with your doctor before taking CBD. Together, you and your doctor can decide on a safe dosage.
Should Children Take CBD? Is it Safe?
CBD is safe for children to use, and it will help with their dyslexia. There are capsules that they can take before they start their day. However, the dosage amount should be consulted with a specialist.
Is CBD for Me?
To find out if CBD is for you, please consult your doctor, especially if you are taking prior medicine. There is no telling how CBD will interact with certain medications and just because it is a natural product, does not mean that it should not be taken with caution.
Once approved by your doctor, you can look into what kind of CBD you would like to take and how high of a dosage.
CBD is available in oil form, and a convenient capsule form as well.
CBD is legal in most regions, but be sure to double-check with your region just to be sure.
Cbd words to remember Yes, you read right. CBD and dyslexia, the pair that no one saw coming. One symptom of dyslexia is high anxiety when it comes to reading and writing. Most people do not