(ORDO NEWS) — According to scientists, compounds in cannabis may continue to affect mental performance for several months after use.
Cannabis is the third most popular psychoactive substance in the world after alcohol and nicotine. It contains the chemical compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is responsible for most of the characteristic effects of marijuana. To one degree or another, it is legalized in several dozen countries, and recently more and more states have joined this list.
However, it is worthwhile to clearly understand the possible consequences of consumption. For example, it is known that regular “smoking weed”, despite some medicinal properties , increases the risk of developing mental disorders like schizophrenia.
The authors of the new review, from the Department of Psychiatry and Addictions at the University of Montreal School of Medicine in Canada, aimed to determine the extent of the effects of cannabis on cognitive function in adolescents and adults immediately after use and in the long term. The results are published in the journal Addiction.
The researchers conducted a systematic meta-review of studies that assessed the performance of people performing cognitive tasks: they tested executive functions, learning and memory, attention, processing speed, perceptual-motor function, and language. In total, the sample included ten works and 43,761 people. The studies analyzed ranged from experiments with 65 volunteers to experiments involving thousands.
The authors confirmed that heavy and frequent cannabis use interferes with good decision making, flexible thinking, and self-control.
The most affected areas in marijuana users were language recall and memory, and the side effect persisted after the intoxication had passed. Residual neurocognitive impairment has been observed in young people who actively use cannabis.
“Our study highlights several areas of cognitive function impaired by cannabis use — including problems concentrating and learning and remembering — that can greatly affect daily life,” said co-author Alexandre Dumais, professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal.
“Consequently, cannabis use at a young age can lead to lower levels of education and, in adults, to poor performance and dangerous driving. These effects will be more severe for avid cannabis users.”
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