5 Effects Of Cannabis On Memory: Remembering & Forgetting

April 30, 2020

For several years, people have used cannabis and its compounds for medicinal and recreational purposes. Such a substance not only affects the symptoms that lead to chronic ailments but also makes a significant impact on an individual’s mind. Memory is one of the areas that gets affected by the continuous use of cannabis. But what are these effects, and how do they affect remembering and forgetting cycles during instances such as brain injuries and episodic memories?

Remembering and forgetting are two of the vital factors that determine memory functioning. While one of the therapeutic compounds like cannabidiol helps in alleviating anxiety symptoms, the use of marijuana, on the other hand, can result in short-term problems such as working memory, physical actions without thinking, and executive thinking. The effects caused by marijuana can also hinder routine processes like composing music, driving, etc. Since these processes induce considerable thinking at all times, the psychoactive chemical present in cannabis affects the brain significantly. Such a process takes place when THC binds to the brain receptors such as the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, ad amygdala.

Several strains and compounds are available in the market from which you can conveniently choose the most preferred one. Medical weed seeds is one of the popular byproducts of cannabis users tend to go for. But, make sure that you consult your doctor before initiating the purchase, as it is quite essential to keep healthy mental wellbeing. So, to start with, let’s first understand some of the effects of cannabis on memory.

1.   Cannabis can impair memories.

Impaired memories leave us with vivid imaginations. A user with high doses of cannabis don’t experience blackouts or system shutdowns like alcohol users, but you might experience difficulties in forming and ciphering new memories. Even if you are under the influence of cannabis or have successfully worn off its effects, you still might not be able to recall some of the memories made during the event or gathering. 

Even though cannabis can impair memories, these effects are temporary and only last for a couple of hours. One of the studies done on memory impairment also shows that users form tolerance levels against such effects. However, most of them depend on the number of doses and the blend with which you have taken cannabis.

2.   Long-term effects on the memory cycle

These are directly proportionate to the doses consumed. One such research by JAMA internal medicine shows that users with more than half a decade of heavy consumption suffered verbal memory recall. However, this is not the case with the ones who took low amounts of doses. 

Another way to understand such effects of cannabis is by following the gateway drug theory. One of the professors carried out a study in which nearly thirty-five hundred people were observed in the space of twenty to twenty-five years. While examining the verbal recall tests, people who have been smoking cannabis daily could recall about eight words out of fifteen. Those who consumed less than the average dose could remember nine words out of fifteen. Smoking or consuming cannabis regularly can lead to problems such as damaged focussing and slow processing, which in turn can cause cognitive impairment.

3.   Cannabis can fight negative memories

We all know how cannabis or other natural supplements affect the memory cycle of an individual. In such a process, remembering becomes quite competitive. However, THC plays a vital role in fighting the impact of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or other traumatic memories like abuse and sexual harassment. Developing a behavioral response against such a type of stress has become crucial to navigate negative memories out of the system.

When cannabis works with the endocannabinoid system of the body, it activates the CB1 receptors that work in fighting and diminishing negative memories. As a result, cannabis can be crucial in fighting such disorders.

4.   Cannabis can boost episodic memory.

Cannabis users tend to experience episodic memories and memories related to the past. These situations do rounds when an individual is high and give rise to several instances where forgotten incidents are discussed. Since people find it hard to recollect vivid memories of the past in ordinary consciousness, cannabis users can recall small occasions, interludes, and snaps of the past.

Such a process takes place after the communication and interaction of cannabis’ ingredients and the brain. While cannabis binds with the brain receptors, it helps in slowing down the reality and increasing the chances of processing old memories. Another critical factor here is the role of emotions.

5.   CBD can improve memory in people with Neurological Disorders

While THC affects the brain significantly, CBD can mediate such an impairment. People going through certain brain diseases might face memory problems. That’s where CBD along with THC help in producing the neuroprotective effect, which in turn hinders the impairment process and later improves the memory.

In a disease like Alzheimer’s, the brain tissues may get severely affected, which can lead to neural death. However, CBD helps in slowing down the progression of the disease and lessen the inflammation amid brain tissues. Also, the natural substance can help in reducing characteristic plaques that can be found in the neural tissues of people suffering from Alzheimer’s.


An individual’s memory is one of the peculiar aspects. Understanding it is yet another challenge. The effects of cannabis on memory, however, has a lot to do with the route of administration, amount of dose, tolerance, sample selection, and records. But, it is crucial to know that it can make you forget and remember. While the substance impairs short-term memory, there are some positive effects too that many studies and researches have proved for years.