Cannabis consumers exhibit greater susceptibility to always be able to false memories



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

The analysis was conducted by researchers from the Human Neuropsychopharmacology group at 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). Among the known consequences of consuming this drug is the memory problems it can cause. Recurring consumers show more difficulties in relation to the overall citizenry in retaining new info and recollections that are regaining. The brand new study also shows that the continual use of cannabis causes distortions in memory, making it easier for imagined or fictitious memories to appear.

On occasions, the brain can recall things which never happened. Our recollection is made up of malleable procedure which is created progressively and so is subject to distortions or even false memories. These memory "mistakes" are seen more frequently in several neurological and psychiatric illnesses, but may also be found in the healthy people, and become more common as we age. Some of the very common false memories we have are of situations from our youth which we believe to recall since the people around us have described them to us over and over again. Maintaining an adequate control over the "veracity" of our memories is a complex cognitive task which allows us to have our own sense of reality and also shapes our behaviour, based on past experiences.

In the study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers from Sant Pau and Bellvitge compared a group of chronic consumers of cannabis to a healthy control group on learning a succession of words, while they worked. After a few minutes they were again shown the first 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 believed to have already seen the semantically new words that were associated to a degree that was higher than participants in the control group. Researchers found that cannabis consumers showed a lower activation in areas of the brain related to memory procedures and to the general control of cognitive resources by using magnetic resonance imaging.

The study Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) found memory deficiencies despite the fact that participants had quit consuming cannabis before participating in the analysis. Although they had not consumed the drug in a month, the more cannabis had been used by the patient throughout their life, crucial to storing memories, the lower the amount of activity in the hippocampus.

The outcomes show that cannabis consumers are somewhat more vulnerable to enduring memory distortions, even weeks after not consuming the drug. This indicates that cannabis has a protracted effect on the brain mechanisms which enable us to distinguish between real and imaginary events. These memory blunders can cause problems because of the effects the testimonies of witnesses as well as their casualties can have, for example, in legal cases. However, from a clinical standpoint, the results point to the fact that a continual use of cannabis could worsen problems with age-associated memory loss.