Cannabis In Memory Processes: Evidence From Experimental Approaches


Cannabis alters different cognitive functions such as memory, perception, attention, understanding, language, orientation, or executive function. These alterations have been described both in situations of consumption, whether for recreational or medicinal reasons, or in experimental situations, either in studies in humans or in experimental animals. These changes can be acute, derived from poisoning, or sustained over time due to prolonged use.

When evaluating the effects of cannabis, it should be considered that the preparations of the Cannabis sativa plant contain around a hundred types of phytocannabinoids, each of them in different proportions. Among them, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC) is the main phytocannabinoid with psychoactive effects, and the focus of attention when studying cognitive disorders related to the consumption of plant derivatives. Genetic, pharmacological, and flexibility studies of nerve transmission, or synaptic plasticity, in brain tissue from animal models, have shown that the cognitive alterations produced by THC are mediated by the main cannabinoid receptor in the body, the type 1 cannabinoid receptor. (CB1), a protein whose expression is elevated in crucial brain regions in memory and learning processes, such as the hippocampus or the cerebral cortex. Buy CBD flower online

In humans, the negative effects of cannabis on memory processes have been described in multiple studies. Even so, it must be taken into account that in controlled studies with human consumers, it is really difficult to weigh the degree of affection of cannabinoids on cognitive function since several factors such as the diversity of cognitive abilities of the subjects must be taken into account. , the variety of consumption, the variety and origin of the substances consumed as well as the proportion that these substances present of the main active components, or their combination in consumption with other substances such as tobacco or alcohol. In all these categories we will find a wide casuistry that makes it difficult to obtain clear conclusions.

Another factor that can influence the effects of cannabis on cognitive function is the age of onset of use. It is important to note that until 21-25 years the human brain is subject to maturation processes of various brain connections. These maturation processes are highly susceptible to environmental stimuli, and the endocannabinoid system, where the phytocannabinoids act, is involved in the proper development of the brain. In this way, cannabis use at ages when the brain is still maturing can have a negative impact on its development and, consequently, on cognitive functions. Buy CBD prerolls online

Cannabis use during school-age correlates with various indicators, including increased risk of addiction or dependence on cannabis, an increased risk of mental illness, worse school performance, and deficits at the level of cognitive development. This data is very relevant since, according to the report of the Spanish Observatory on Drugs and Drug Addiction, cannabis is the illegal drug most consumed by young people between 14 and 18 years of age, and the average age of starting consumption is before 15 years.

Regarding experimental observations, where the cognitive capacities and levels of studies of the subject groups can be counterbalanced, and where the administration of well-defined doses is done in a standardized way and with exhaustive time control, the conclusions of the cognitive disturbances by cannabis derivatives leave no room for doubt. Acute administration of the psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC, has adverse effects on learning and memory. There are different studies that show how chronic cannabis use affects cognitive processes, mainly verbal learning and memory studied using word list learning tasks. Buy marijuana online

These deficits have been observed in both adolescent and adult populations and a correlation has been found between the degree of performance on the tests and the frequency, quantity, duration, and year of initiation of cannabis use. In this sense, worse results were found in those subjects who had been consuming more years or in those who consumed the preparations with higher amounts of THC. Another type of memory that can be affected by cannabis use is working memory, a type of transient memory that allows the temporary manipulation of information to carry out complex cognitive tasks. Since working memory is a broad term that encompasses a diverse number of tasks (verbal, numerical, spatial, among others), there are studies with evidence in different directions. Even so,

It has also been experimentally evaluated whether the effects of cannabis on cognitive tasks are cumulative or, conversely, whether prolonged exposure produces some degree of tolerance in cognitive deficits, as occurs in the case of other pharmacological effects of cannabis such as analgesia. or hypothermia. In this context of repeated exposure, the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques allowed us to observe that although the regular cannabis user could show certain preserved cognitive capacities compared to healthy controls, generating the response to the specific cognitive task required the mobilization of more brain resources than non-cannabis controls.  Buy real marijuana online

These data point to the relevance of the endocannabinoid system as a neurobiological substrate prominently involved in learning and memory. Animal model studies reveal a curious role for cannabinoid receptors. When these receptors, mainly those most expressed in the central nervous system (CB1 receptors) are removed from the body, animals without CB1 receptors have trouble forgetting. This curious observation is in line with the fact that our brain is designed to store information that may be relevant to the body, while it does not consolidate memories that may be unnecessary overtime.

In this sense, the increase of the endocannabinoids themselves, lipids of our own organism that interact with the cannabinoid receptors to activate them, it is also capable of modulating memory processes. Thus, enzyme inhibiting compounds that degrade the endocannabinoids themselves, cause these endocannabinoids to accumulate. In animal models, it has been observed that said accumulation at the cerebral level interferes in the consolidation of memories, producing an effect similar to that observed by the action of THC.

More recently, using mice as an animal model, a series of paradoxical phenomena have been described in relation to the cognitive effects of cannabinoid compounds, which has opened a new niche for research and possible medical applications. On the one hand, it has been observed that in model mice of Alzheimer’s disease, compounds with properties similar to THC reduce brain inflammation and produce cognitive improvements. On the other hand, repeated administration of THC at intermediate doses has been observed in healthy long-lived animals to produce cognitive improvements mediated by cannabinoid CB1 receptors. That same THC administration regimen, on the other hand, was very negative at the cognitive level in young adult animals. Buy CBD cigarettes – menthol online

From this latest evidences, in contrast to the other studies presented, it follows that much remains to be understood about the way to take advantage of the endocannabinoid system as a therapeutic target, and of the cognitive benefits and harms of the consumption of cannabis derivatives in pathological situations. , as well as in the different stages of life. These benefits and risks should be weighed in those cases where it is a question of using cannabis derivatives as therapy. The fact that various countries are beginning to consider, or have taken steps towards the legalization of cannabis derivatives, generates a momentum in which experimental advances should guide the use and exploitation of this natural resource.

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