Marijuana and memory are two things that are often put together in a negative connotation. Like ‘dude, where’s my car?’ type of stereotypes that are highlighted in the cinema, and entertainment worlds.
But as research grows into the plethora of medical benefits that cannabis can provide, we’re learning more about how marijuana actually affects memory. Now, there are multiple studies, especially in the last decade, that prove the opposite – weed can help in restoring cognitive functions and prevent memory-related disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.
The topic of marijuana and memory is complex, so there are quite a few factors to consider when exploring how the two are connected. Here we’ve put together an in-depth guide to the beneficial effects that cannabis can provide for Alzheimer’s disease, and how it affects memory, overall.
How Does Marijuana Work with Our Brains?
First of all, we need to understand the link between marijuana and our brains before jumping to conclusions on the plant and how it affects memory. The way marijuana works with our brains is through its natural compounds known as cannabinoids.
The most common cannabinoids in weed are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Our brains contain similar molecules, called endocannabinoids, which are a part of the endocannabinoid system. This system is a network of messengers, that is in charge of regulating our appetite, sleep, energy levels, and other everyday functions.
Our body’s endocannabinoid system develops at an early age, and it is most active in our youth. As we age, the endocannabinoid receptors start losing their power, thus affect our cognitive functions. By replacing the natural cannabinoid receptors in our brain with consuming marijuana, we are helping the brain to restore the weakened endocannabinoid system and improve brain functioning.
Overall, researchers have found that THC-rich substances protect our brains from cognitive decline. Meaning, the effects of marijuana on the brain are not only helping with stress, anxiety, appetite loss, and sleep disorders but can be therapeutic in preventing serious illnesses that come on with age, or are caused by lessened brain functions.
How Does Cannabis Affect Memory?
Memory, like marijuana, is quite complex on its own. So, let’s refresh ourselves on the three types of memory as a background to how cannabis affects each, individually.
- Short term memory is information that lasts 15-30 seconds, and this is the type that gets most affected by consuming marijuana. However, some experts cite those who frequently consume marijuana can overcome memory loss effects after a while. This is due to building a tolerance to the cannabinoids, overtime.
- Long-term memory refers to all the memories that we have in our life, and it is often compared to the capacity of the Internet and all the information it contains. So far, research is slim for how cannabis affects long term memories. However, it’s important to note that cannabis is increasingly being researched as a treatment for PTSD, for its interaction with areas of the brain that are responsible for recurring traumas or memories.
- Sensory memory is activated by our senses and it can last a couple of seconds.
All in all, memory is information stored in our brain, and when the cognitive functions fail, we suffer from memory loss. Marijuana is one of the ways to naturally restore memories by igniting and activating receptors via the endocannabinoid system in the brain. This is one benefit that makes the plant beneficial for memory deteriorating diseases, like Azheimer’s.
Other research concerning marijuana and memories include the following findings –
- While recalling memories under the influence of marijuana, might be hard at the time, it doesn’t have a long-term effect. One study concluded this while studying the effects of THC on short-term memory. THC did significantly impair memory recall up to two hours after consumption, however did not negatively affect memory recall 24-48 hours after the dose.
- Another study investigated the effects of consuming cannabis and recalling long-term memories. The researchers found that THC had no effect on the consumer’s ability to retrieve stored memories. Meaning, just because you’re high doesn’t mean you’ll forget your address, birthday, or other common facts you store in the memory.
- Other research has concluded that CBD may be even more influential and beneficial for brain cognition and memory. One study published results that CBD had the power to offset the memory impairment that can be caused by THC. While other research showed that CBD can reverse, or prevent impairments of cognitive ability.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Millions of people around the world get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease every year, affecting nearly 747,000 Canadians. The disease consists of an accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain, known as amyloid-beta.
When too much of this toxic protein accumulates in the brain, the body’s immune system tries to defend the brain and starts attacking the amyloid-beta molecules. While destroying the toxic proteins, the immune system is also causing damage to healthy brain tissue, and that’s how the cognitive decrease is created.
How Can Marijuana Help Alzheimer’s Disease?
The aging population is more and more affected by the disease. As the safety and benefits of marijuana use are becoming part of daily lives, there is a logical connection between cannabinoids and restoring cognitive decline.
A study shows that neuronal cells with increased amyloid-beta molecules are less likely to die or get damaged when THC is added to the mix. Not to mention, the neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and 400 others helps to stop the neurodegenerative symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.
But, when Alzheimer does arise, it appears that cannabis may be able to act as a therapeutic and natural treatment. In the case of amyloid-beta molecules compiling, the immune system reacts in a protective way. Trying to defend the brain from the diseased cells, by sending immune cells to the affected area. This leads to neuro-inflammation. Which cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects, can also help.
Marijuana’s cannabinoids also work to encourage our body’s endocannabinoid system to control the inflammatory response. Since the endocannabinoid system regulates and modulates other physiological systems, keeping it in balance and optimal working order. In the case of Alzheimer’s, cannabinoids help the immune system by inhibiting the attack of healthy brain cells, preventing further neuronal damage.
Lastly, marijuana works to protect the brain is by stopping excitotoxicity. If the neurons are frequently active for too long (excitation of the neurons), they start becoming toxic or damaged. Damaged neurons release chemicals that further harm the cells, and lead to an on-going process of brain deterioration, which leads to diseases like Alzheimer’s too. Endocannabinoids control the production of the toxic chemicals, and when aided by marijuana cannabinoids, their work becomes even more effective, stopping further neuronal damage.
The Best Strains for Alzheimer’s Disease
As you can probably guess, due to the unique makeup of each cannabis strain – not all strains are suitable for everyone or every health issue. Through real-time use and ideal combinations of cannabinoids, and terpenes, the following strains are most noted for relieving symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and aiding the prevention of the neurodegenerative disease.
- Death Bubba
Death Bubba is a 70% Indica hybrid, packed with 27% of THC, and sufficient levels of CBD. Death Bubba helps to combat stress and anxiety and offers ultimate relaxation and long sleep.
The physical sedation comes shortly after the first inhale, and this can help Alzheimer’s patients to relax, reduce stress and tension, and have a peaceful sleep.
- Blue Gelato
Blue Gelato is a 60% dominant Sativa strain, with 17%-24% of THC content. It is perfect for people who are trying to combat anxiety and increase focus, cognitive functions, and awareness.
- Strawberry Banana
Strawberry Banana is a flavourful well-balanced hybrid that is 50% Sativa – 50% Indica, with 17% of THC. Many users note it’s an ally for combating pain, anxiety, and stress. Strawberry induces happy feelings and a manageable euphoria for uplifting the moods of Alzherimer’s patients.
Debunking The Memory Myth – Cannabis for Alzheimer’s
Marijuana and memory correlation is more complex than science can pinpoint for now. However, numerous studies are helping us understand the link between cannabinoids and our body’s endocannabinoid system, which is leading to conclusions that are helpful for repairing cognitive failure, and the protection of.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the reality for 747,000 Canadians, and the research so far is showing that weed can potentially help. Along the way, these studies have helped to debunk many marijuana memory myths, allowing those who consume frequently to have less worry for their optimal health.
If you’re seeking to use medical marijuana for ageing diseases, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or any other condition that the plant can soothe – MMJDirect can help. Check out our wide variety of marijuana strains that are top-shelf for premium effects, recreationally, or medically.