Working memory improves by smoking marijuana

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A recent study counters the stereotype that marijuana makes users forgetful

Smoking cannabis makes people forget things. At least, this is what Hollywood has made us believe for decades. However, a recent study seems to indicate that the exact opposite may be true – smoking cannabis might actually help consumers improve their working memory.

The study was led by researchers at the University of Florida and was published in the Neurobiology of Learning Memory journal. 32 rats, divided by gender, were put through a couple of delayed response tasks that had them either poke their nose into a feeding trough a certain number of times or finding and pressing a level a certain number of times. Upon successful completion, the rats were given food pellets as a reward.

The first several times, the tests were conducted with sober rats. After that, they were subjected to the tests after being exposed to cannabis smoke. The male subjects didn’t seem to be affected by the marijuana, but the female rats demonstrated that the choice accuracy was enhanced after being exposed to marijuana. The researchers added that the female subjects demonstrated lower baseline performances, which “raises the possibility that the enhancing effects in females were due to their relatively worse baseline performance rather than to sex differences in the effects of cannabis per se.”

The researchers concluded by asserting, “The overwhelming majority of research in both animal models and human subjects shows that acute administration of cannabis and cannabinoids induces deficits in tests of cognitive function, including working memory. In contrast, the current experiments show that acute exposure to cannabis smoke enhanced working memory performance in a delayed response task in rats, particularly in females in which baseline levels of task performance were lower than those in males.”