Making the right decisions with cannabis?
- 1.1. Light cannabis users are better decision makers than their non-consuming counterparts, study finds
- 1.2. Decision-makers, cognitive functions and cannabis use
- 1.3. Study: Cannabis Does Not Affect Decision Making
- 1.4. Are cannabis consumers better decision makers?
- 1.5. How does cannabis exert its effects on the brain?
Making the right decisions with cannabis?
Good decisions are usually not associated with cannabis. Granted, it's easy to relate it to things like pain relief, seizure control, and inflammation relief. But the decision-making? Yes ! A recent study of adolescents entering adulthood suggests that light cannabis use makes better decisions.
Light cannabis users are better decision makers than their non-consuming counterparts, study finds
Now we've heard it all! info or intox ? Historically, research has delivered conflicting messages about the cognitive effects of cannabis. One study claims it is harmful, one for another that it is not, and a for another although it is only so if you start too young. But, it was never considered that cannabis could be involved in good decision making. Till today.
Decision-makers, cognitive functions and cannabis use
In reality, the long-term effects of cannabis on cognitive functions (including processing speed, working memory, attention and executive functions) remain unclear. If the evidence suggests that cannabis has beneficial effects on the brain adults, the same may not be true of developing minds.
The most comprehensive overview to date of the cognitive impact of cannabis on adolescents has been provided by JAMA Psychiatry in 2018. This was a review of 69 studies and the conclusion was that any cognitive impairment associated with cannabis use resolved after 72 hours. The study, however, did not examine the potential impact of light or chronic cannabis use.
The overall conclusion was that, “although continued cannabis use may be associated with slight reductions in cognitive functioning, the results suggest that cognitive deficits are significantly reduced with abstinence. "
So, basically, it seems that the problems with recalling memory and attention go away as soon as you stop using cannabis. Interestingly, until this study, no one had considered that light cannabis use could in fact be an asset for certain cognitive functions, such as making good decisions.
Study: Cannabis Does Not Affect Decision Making
This is why this recent study published in 2021 in Cognitive Development titled “Residual Effects of Cannabis Use on Neuropsychological Functioning,” is so interesting. But, is this study accurate and does it use appropriate research methods?
The study involved 804 adolescents (441 women and 363 men) aged 14 to 19. The researchers performed a cross-sectional analysis to compare baseline data and follow-up data using a method called analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). It is a recognized tool for extracting statistics on the average of two or more populations. The average is like the average, but more specific. In statistics, the mean is equal to the total number of observations divided by the number of observations.
Are cannabis consumers better decision makers?
Initially, there were no significant cognitive differences. That is, before the start of cannabis use. But, after controlling for other variables, cannabis users who were “both late and light users showed better decision-making ability”. This in relation to the decision-making capacities of non-consumers ”.
These results held up even after the team looked at the groups both cross-sectionally (i.e., looking at several factors at once, such as age, level of education, and consumption. cannabis) and longitudinal (i.e., observing the same subjects over time).
In short, there were no significant differences in neurocognitive abilities before starting to use cannabis. But, those who took the light route (as opposed to chronic overconsumption) may have become better decision makers.
Finally, the researchers determined that cannabis does not interfere with decision-making as long as it remains moderate and there is no use before the age of fifteen.
How does cannabis exert its effects on the brain?
It is important to know that specific receptors in the brain recognize cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. This is because the brain (and other parts of the body) is wired to work with endogenous cannabinoids, such as anandamide and 2-AG.
Interestingly, the cannabinoids in cannabis fit into the same receptors as our endocannabinoids. In fact, THC has a very similar chemical structure toanandamide, the molecule of human happiness.
Also, the most abundant cannabinoid receptor in the brain is called the CB1 receptor. It is concentrated in the hippocampus, amygdala and cerebral cortex.
Therefore, the main effects of cannabinoids activating these receptors are euphoria, changes in short-term memory, stimulation of appetite, antiemetic effects (stopping nausea and vomiting) and action on perception. pain.
Fortunately, while chronic cannabis use can lead to mild cognitive impairment, this is reversible and is not a recognized cause of drug-induced brain disease. Better yet, if you keep it in the middle, you might just join the ranks of the top decision makers.