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The Effect of Marijuana on Memory

by Christy Coy 4 min read

The Effect of Marijuana on Memory

Cannabis’ Impact on Memory

Cannabis use and forgetfulness – do they go hand in hand? We’re all familiar with the stereotypes portrayed in media and Hollywood films, with the “pot head” usually a dumb, inarticulate individual who can’t even remember where they placed their car keys.

But is this a correct assumption and representation? 

What does science know how cannabis affects memory? That and more will be explored below, including references to research where applicable. 

THC and Short-Term Memory

Research would suggest that new memories are hard to form when under the influence of THC, much in the same way that memories are harder for your brain to effectively form when under the influence of alcohol. 

Not only is memory formation less efficient, but it might also be difficult to actually “recall” the memories you made while under the influence of THC. The good news is that the effects are generally temporary, and those who are chronic cannabis users can develop a tolerance to them (Kossen, 2016). 

But short-term memory isn’t the only type of memory that can be impacted, THC can also influence long-term memory as well. But is it really all doom and gloom? 

Read on to gain a better understanding of how cannabis might impact your memory over time…

THC and Long-Term Memory

The effects of THC on long-term memory are debatable. In terms of cognitive function, the ability to process, and the ability to focus, no measurable effect can be seen. One study found that chronic cannabis users could only recall 8.5 out of fifteen words, whereas non-users were half a word higher. It was postulated that this would increase over time, but there has been no proof (Kossen, 2016).

The Positive Side of Cannabis Use and Memory

What about improving memory? Can the use of cannabis help with memory function and retention? CBD has been suggested to help with memory protection. And research has shown that cannabis does not impair one’s ability to recall existing memories.

CBD and Memory

Studies have shown that CBD can potentially protect against impairment. Not only can it counteract the temporary impairment caused by THC, but CBD appears to help protect the brain against damage caused by heavy drinking. 

CBD has been shown to reduce cell death caused by alcohol by up to sixty percent, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. 

There is also promising research with brain conditions, such as:

  • Parkinson’s
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s (Kossen, 2016).

At Hemper we carry a full line of legal forms of CBD Products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. Some forms include:

More research into the beneficial effects of CBD on the brain could yield some dramatic and amazing results.


Those who serve in our Armed Forces sacrifice much to keep us protected, but they often come away with post-traumatic stress disorder. But even civilians can experience PTSD from various traumatic life events. CBD could help with this condition.

PTSD occurs when someone cannot overcome memories of a traumatic event. They may have episodes of reliving these awful memories. When veterans are dealing with PTSD, the medicine is often said to be ineffective. Sometimes, the Xanax or Valium that is prescribed even makes the situation worse.

See More: CBD & THC for PTSD Treatment

A popular treatment among sufferers is CBD, and while more research is being done, CBD may prove as a useful tool in helping those with PTSD cope. It is currently thought that this cannabinoid assists in disrupting the memories, as THC can, also.

What’s Next in Researching Memory and Cannabis?

As with many other areas of cannabis research, further study into its effects on memory and cognitive function will likely prove extremely useful. By having a complete understanding of how cannabinoids react to receptors in the brain, as well as which receptors they bind to, we can better harness therapeutic benefits from these substances.

Clouding the Brain

When using cannabis for brain function, one of the best ways to take it is via vaping. Vaping eliminates many of the harmful effects of smoking, and it is a more direct method than eating cannabis. Vaping provides a clean, pure, fast and discreet delivery system. 

Vaping is gaining popularity for many reasons, as people attempt to quit cigarettes and find a way to safely consume herbs and oils. There are many different types of devices that will heat the cannabis without causing the combustion that turns it into smoke. 

Closing Thoughts

According to a number of studies, vaping cannabis may help to repair cognitive function and protect against memory loss. THC does appear to cause short-term memory issues, but these effects do not appear to result in long-lasting or permanent impairments. Cannabis (where legal) may be a useful therapeutic tool for the brain, as part of the endocannabinoid system resides there. In fact, many individuals report that CBD is extremely helpful when dealing with PTSD.

Further study into cannabis and its effects on the body may uncover additional therapeutic benefits we have yet to discover and it is likely that we will continue to see vaping cannabis as a safe, cheap, effective way to treat a variety of ailments.