This article was originally published on Goldleaf and appears here with permission.
Yes, cannabis can affect your memory; it appears to promote both positive and negative effects. The nature and impact of these effects vary based on memory subtype, cannabinoid profile, age of user, and frequency of cannabis use.
Although it’s an outdated trope, we’re all aware of the stereotype of the forgetful stoner. You know the type: the one who can never seem to find their phone. And keys. In extreme cases, perhaps even their car.
But how much truth is there behind that caricature?
Does cannabis impact a person’s memory in a detrimental way?
Or maybe it’s the exact opposite? After all, cannabis is known to have a myriad of health-promoting effects for wellness.
Actually, the answer isn’t so cut and dry.
The latest research on the topic presents a complicated and still-evolving understanding of how cannabis influences memory function.
Although the science on cannabis and memory is far from conclusive, what has been discovered presents quite a bit of food for thought.
Read on to learn more about the key findings to date on cannabis and memory.
What Is Memory?
Webster’s Dictionary defines memory as “a particular act of recall or recollection.” Simple enough, right?
However, when examining the positive and negative effects of cannabis on memory, it’s important to delineate several different memory subtypes. This is useful because it appears that there’s quite a bit of divergence in effects depending on which memory subtype is being tested.
Prospective memory refers to a person’s ability to remember to perform a certain action at a specific time in the future.
Temporal order memory involves remembering the correct order in which a series of events occurred.
False memories are inaccurate recollections of past events.
Free recall is a type of common memory test where information is given to a participant who later has to restate the data. It’s important to note that the ability to remember the order in which the information was shared is not an aspect of free-recall testing.
Source memory refers to a person’s capacity to recall the origin of their memories or knowledge. For example, if you remember how to spell “receive” correctly because a teacher admonished you in front of your peers when you misspelled that word.
Working memory is an aspect of short-term memory that involves a person’s ability to remember things while occupied with a task.
Now, with these definitions established, let’s proceed to an analysis of the latest research on how cannabis affects memory.
What Positive Effects Does Cannabis Have on Memory?
Although it may be surprising to some, cannabis has been shown to have positive effects on memory in specific instances.
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