A Closer Look at the Effects of Marijuana on Memory Loss

At Poet’s Walk, we strive to stay abreast of the most recent scientific developments in memory care. Because the number of seniors who struggle with memory loss and dementia is so large, many medical providers have worked to improve treatment options. While medicinal marijuana is sometimes discussed as a treatment for health conditions that affect seniors, such as arthritis, the drug’s relationship to memory loss has recently emerged.

For many years, marijuana and memory loss have been associated when used over the long-term. What researchers have begun to examine more closely is exactly how cannabis affects memory and at what point might negative side effects outweigh the currently known benefits of using medical marijuana. With more than 5.2 million American seniors currently suffering from Alzheimer’s, one must wonder: does the use of marijuana pose the risk of increasing rates of dementia?

The Effects of Cannabis on Short-Term Memory

A team at the University of Bordeaux in France recently conducted a study that looked at how cannabis affects the brain. By examining how the drug functions at the cellular level, researchers could clearly see how an individual’s cognitive functioning was affected by usage. More than 100 cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, are found in marijuana, which

More than 100 cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, are found in marijuana. These compounds mimic the brain’s natural chemicals, which serve as neurotransmitters. Researchers found that when the cannabinoids interact with the receptors of the nerve cells found in the hippocampus–the portion of the brain that is responsible for memory formation–short-term memory loss can result.

Marijuana Usage Among Elderly Patients

Some users have found cannabis to decrease instances of pain and nausea, which has caused some seniors to turn to the drug. While some beneficial properties may exist, it is important to understand the risk of marijuana on memory loss. Though some researchers believe they may be able to prevent these negative effects, given time, there is no current protocol to protect these short-term memories.

At Poet’s Walk, we believe that the more caregivers and family members know the more likely they are to make the best health decisions for their loved one. None of the Spring Hills Communities, including Poet’s Walk, use medical marijuana within our senior care services. Rather, we focus on keeping up with the most recent research so that we can deliver therapies proven to benefit those within our memory care facilities.

Want to learn more about the current therapies available at Poet’s Walk? Contact us to request more information about our holistic health services.