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There is a persistent and common belief throughout society that using cannabis over an extended period of time (or, in some cases, even once) can lead to a decline in mental abilities and function. However, a recently published Australian cannabis study is helping to dispel this stigma and show the potential cognitive benefits of medical marijuana.
Debunking The Stigma
It’s not difficult to find studies promoting fear-mongering over cannabis use, particularly ones working against the ongoing legalization and societal acceptance of medical marijuana. This stigma has been problematic for cannabis consumers for years and often leads to unfair stereotypes against people who benefit from cannabis treatment for mental or physical health issues.
These stereotypes have consequences, whether political, legal, or within the medical system, and may prevent people from seeking care that can help.
When studies look at cognitive function, they refer to a person’s ability to perform tasks like driving, solving puzzles, or remembering patterns. While some of these, like driving, are not recommended after consuming cannabis, it doesn’t necessarily mean that medical marijuana will lead to a long-term decline in mental abilities.
In recent years as medical marijuana has become more widely available, we are finally learning more about the potential long-term benefits of cannabis and dispelling these old, harmful beliefs.
The study, published in CNS Drugs, tested 40 participants on their ability to complete neurological-based tests on pattern recognition, multitasking, reaction time, information processing, and working memory. These tests were done before and after the participants self-administered either oil (cannabis concentrates) or flower variants of prescribed medical marijuana.
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The results were pleasing – researchers found no significant difference in cognitive ability before and after participants consumed cannabis. The participants also reported that medical marijuana has been beneficial for their various health conditions, which include chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia.
All participants are regular users of medical cannabis, which could be additional confirmation that sustained cannabis consumption doesn’t have serious negative consequences. However, this claim needs further research to confirm.
Fortunately, this type of study is becoming more common. Another study on cannabis use among older adults published in early 2023 reported that long-term cannabis users between the ages of 50 and 84 had better cognitive function than people of the same age who don’t consume cannabis. Researchers examined more than ten years of data and concluded that cannabis use doesn’t have any significant impact on mental abilities, which is great news for medical marijuana patients.
Studies and research on the mental and physical health benefits of cannabis have made medical marijuana products with life-changing potential more easily accessible than ever.
The ramifications of this could be far-reaching and eventually impact countless lives across the country and the world. Just as harmful beliefs and stigmas have made it challenging to get prescriptions for medical marijuana, positive news and studies can do the exact opposite.
Having a medical marijuana card can help with a wide range of physical and mental health disorders, and laws are changing frequently to allow them in more and more states. If you’d like to learn more, our medical practitioners are available to help.