Study Indicates THC Impairs Visual Working Memory Performance

26th November 2020

It is widely believed that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive component in cannabis, has an impact on the drug user’s memory. However, there are few, if any studies available. An American research team tried to answer the question to find out more on the matter.

THC and other cannabinoids like CBD affect the (human) body in different ways. For instance, while CBD is often linked to having health benefits, such as the ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, THC is most known for creating the so-called high feeling.

They say the higher the THC percentage is, the more harm it can cause. The impact could vary; issues with thinking, focusing, and multitasking are reported to be the most common signs.

However, as quoted on Psypost, a research team had found little scientific evidence and data to support this theory.

The group, therefore, decided to run their own study, including a higher number of subjects participating in far more memory tasks compared to past researches.

What happened?

The researchers conducted two double-blind, randomised experiments, each involving 24 healthy adults with an average age of 23.

During the first study, the group was split into two, which were given either 15mg doses of THC or a placebo pill. In the second study, they created three groups: some received 7.5mg doses of THC, some 15mg doses of THC, and others had placebo pills.

After taking the capsules, the subjects took part in a working memory task.

In the end, the study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, concluded that THC does actually impair visual working memory by increasing mind wandering and impeding monitor task performance.

The researchers found that those who were given 15mg doses of THC did much worse on the working memory tests and were struggling to keep their focus on the tasks. However, people on 7.5mg doses of THC only performed slightly worse than those on placebo pills.

In conclusion, while obviously more study is necessary to get us closer to fully understanding THC’s effect on the (human) body, these new findings might be able to influence future experiments.

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