Quitting cannabis could lead to better memory and cognition

The Guardian 30 October 2018
Family First Comment: “We can strongly say that regular users will learn better when they abstain, and continuing to use the drug is likely to negatively impact the learning process,”
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US research shows four weeks’ abstinence improved memory, but not attention skills.

Abstaining from cannabis for a month can boost the memory performance of regular users, according to a study of young people who used the drug at least once a week.

Researchers found that four weeks without cannabis led to a “modest but reliable” improvement in users’ memory test scores, which could be sufficient to raise students’ grades at school.

“We can strongly say that regular users will learn better when they abstain, and continuing to use the drug is likely to negatively impact the learning process,” said Randi Schuster at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine in Boston.

The scientists recruited 88 participants aged 16 to 25, all of whom used cannabis at least once a week. Each was then randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first continued their drug use as before, while the second agreed to quit for 28 days. All gave regular urine samples to ensure they stuck to the arrangement.

Over the next month, the participants took regular computer tests to assess their cognitive skills. While abstaining from cannabis had no measurable impact on attention skills, memory improved markedly, and particularly in the first week when much of the drug washed out of their system. The most notable effect was seen in a verbal memory test which recorded how well people could memorise and later recall a series of 18 words that flashed up on the computer screen.
READ MORE: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/30/quitting-cannabis-can-lead-better-memory-cognition-us-research

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