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  • Jennifer Betz

How Does Cannabis Affect Your Brain Health and Cognition?

does marijuana help you think?

It turns out that when it comes to cannabis, “your brain on drugs” looks pretty good.

Recent research appears to confirm something those of us who have been enthusiastically using plant medicine for a while already know: cannabis is good for your brain. Fortunately for your noggin, medical marijuana patients in Missouri have legal access to a variety of cannabis products that can support mental wellbeing and emotional health.

You just need to get a Missouri medical marijuana card, and you’ll be all set to start reaping the physical, mental, and emotional rewards of medical marijuana!

In this post, we are going to look at some reasons cannabis is good for your mind in addition to your body, and we’ll give you some tips on ways to get the most out of your medical marijuana wellness routine.

Reefer Madness - The Shape of Drug Policy for Nearly a Century

The idea that marijuana makes a person lose their intelligence—and even their sanity—started gaining believers during the time that anti-cannabis propaganda was heavy. The work of a few politicians, journalists and businessmen in the 1930s, ensured the vilification of a plant that was used to make textiles, revered as an effective medicine, and seen as an integral part of American civilization.

At that time, Reefer Madness was not a satirical comedy that people watched to laugh at its ridiculousness. Rather, it was a serious examination of the perils of the Devil’s lettuce. The consensus was that cannabis was a detriment to your brain health.

As a result of this propaganda, the public supported the Marijuana Tax act of 1937, then the complete Federal prohibition in 1970. And then Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs in 1971. Marijuana became a convenient enemy to distract from the disaster that was happening overseas.

This is Your Brain on Drugs

A new face of the enemy emerged in the 1980s when the government began to focus more on heroin. The 1987 public service announcement from Partnership For a Drug Free America, This is Your Brain on Drugs, is probably the most famous public service announcement in history. The popular culture references are pervasive, and just hearing “This is your brain on drugs,” still conjures an image of an egg in a frying pan for most adults.

Though the intent was to focus on making sure kids didn’t get hooked on heroin, the lack of specificity meant we all took it to mean all “drugs,” including cannabis. So now, we learn that cannabis will make your brain look and feel like a fried egg.

Fortunately, Policies and Public Opinions Can Change (With Accurate Information)

Public opinion and state government policies began to change in the mid-1990s, when gay communities that had been ravaged by HIV and AIDS were in the throes of advocating for legal medicinal use of cannabis.

But the wave of change that has come since then is a direct result of the fact that we now have an entire world of information at our fingertips; and we can easily pull up peer-reviewed scientific studies with just a few clicks. Fortunately, the propaganda that we were all previously exposed to didn’t damage our brains so much that we couldn’t learn the truth about cannabis.

Washington Post Reports That “Smoking Weed Does Not Make You Stupid After All”

PHEW! That was a close one!

A 2012 Duke University study claimed that kids who persistently used marijuana had poorer educational outcomes than those who abstained. It turns out that this study’s results were based on some questionable methods, leaving out other important life factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, and socioeconomic factors.

A 2018 Washington Post article cites two studies indicating that marijuana use does not have a negative impact on cognitive abilities. A British study showed that cannabis use after the age of 15 had no negative effects on IQ or educational performance.

And an American twin study indicated that, while cannabis did not appear to have a negative effect on cognition or education performance, adolescents who had lower levels of intelligence and were doing poorly in school were more inclined to give cannabis a try.

Newer Studies Indicate That Cannabis May Improve Cognitive Performance!

A longitudinal study observing participants at intervals over a 12-month period indicated that not only is cannabis use not bad for your brain health, but that it may actually improve cognitive performance.

Patients enrolled in the study were new medical marijuana patients who had limited or no prior experience with cannabis. They were tested for mood, anxiety and sleep, as well as verbal learning and memory, and executive function.

Results indicated that there were executive function improvements among participants, as well as clinical improvements (mood, anxiety, sleep). While cognitive improvements were not associated with cannabis directly, they were correlated with clinical improvements.

In other words, people who feel better perform better on cognitive tasks.

And this makes complete sense. Better sleep is essential to have your brain functioning at the top of its game. Anxiety washes your brain with hormones related to the fight-or-flight response, which can slow down your cognitive functioning. Being stressed out or depressed can actually shrink your brain.

Cannabis Helps You Feel Better, Which Helps You Think Better

We’ve all been there. After a night (or several) of sleep deprivation, we struggle to think, make decisions, or even avoid snapping at anyone who makes too much noise in the office breakroom.

When you feel poorly, you think poorly.

But cannabis can help you feel better all around. It is great for insomnia; and anxiety, PTSD, and other psychiatric disorders are on the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Missouri.

Still have questions? Check out this 2018 video that shows us a more accurate picture of what your brain feels like on cannabis.

But Seriously ...

When you work with the doctors at Missouri Marijuana Card to create a treatment plan that helps you feel empowered and more in control of your life, we think you’ll find it’s one of the best things you’ve ever done for your brain health.

Give us a call today at (877) 303-3117, to learn if medical marijuana may provide the mental boost you need today, to support your brain health tomorrow!


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri.

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