Cannabis customers exhibit higher susceptibility to false memories



A brand new study published in the American journal with the highest impact factor in global, Molecular Psychiatry, reveals that consumers of cannabis are more prone to experiencing memories that are false.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Human Neuropsychopharmacology group in the Biomedical Research Institute of Hospital de Sant Pau and from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, in collaboration with the Brain Cognition and Plasticity group of the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL - University of Barcelona). One of the known effects of consuming this drug is the recollection problems it can cause. Long-Term consumers show more difficulties than the overall citizenry in retaining new info and recovering recollections. The new study also shows that the long-term use of cannabis causes distortions in memory, which makes it simpler for false or fantastic memories to seem.

On occasions, the brain can remember things which never happened. Our recollection is made up of malleable procedure which is created increasingly and consequently is subject to distortions or even false memories. These recollection "mistakes" are seen more often in several neurological and psychiatric disorders, but can be observed in the healthy population, and become more common as we age. Some of the very common false memories we have are from our childhood which we believe to remember since the folks around us have explained them to us over and over again of scenarios. Keeping an acceptable control over the "veracity" of our recollections is a complicated cognitive task which enables us to have our own awareness of reality and also shapes our behavior, based on previous experiences.

In the study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers from Sant Pau and Bellvitge compared a group of long-term consumers of cannabis to a healthy control group on learning a series of words while they worked. After a couple of minutes they were once more shown the original words, together with new words which were either semantically related or unrelated. All participants were asked to identify the words belonging to the first list. Cannabis consumers considered to have seen the semantically new words that were connected to a degree that was higher than participants in the control group. By using magnetic resonance imaging, researchers discovered that cannabis consumers showed a lower activation in areas of the brain related to the overall control of cognitive resources and to memory procedures.

The study found recollection deficiencies regardless of the fact that participants had stopped consuming cannabis before participating in the study. Although they had not have the drug in a month, the more cannabis had been used by the patient throughout their life, key to keeping memories, the lower the degree of activity in post-traumatic stress disorder the hippocampus.

The results show that cannabis consumers are somewhat more exposed to suffering memory distortions, even weeks after not consuming the drug. This implies that cannabis has a prolonged effect on the brain mechanisms which enable us to discern between actual and imagined events. These recollection errors can cause problems in legal cases, for instance, because of the effects the testimonies of witnesses and their casualties can have. Nevertheless, from a clinical perspective, the results point to the truth that a long-term use of cannabis could worsen problems with age-associated memory loss.