A large, trichome-covered cannabis cola.

Marc Fuyà

Study: Cannabis Does Not Impair Cognitive Function, Reduces Prescription Drug Use

According to a study published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology journal by researchers from McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Tufts University, administration of medical cannabis was associated with reduced prescription drug use and improved cognitive performance.

The study assessed three months of medical cannabis treatment on executive function, “exploring whether MMJ patients would experience improvement in cognitive functioning, perhaps related to primary symptom alleviation.” The study used 24 patients certified for medical cannabis use.

In addition to the patients experiencing “some improvement on measures of executive functioning” reflected by “increased speed in completing tasks without a loss of accuracy” using the Stroop Color World Test and Trail Making Test, patients also reported moderate improvements to their sleep patterns, decreased depression symptoms, and “attenuated impulsivity.”

Study participants also reported a decreased use of conventional pharmaceuticals — opiate use declined 42 percent, antidepressant use declined 17 percent, mood stabilizer use was reduced 33 percent, and use of benzodiazepines, such as Xanex, declined 38 percent.

The authors note that “many policy makers, consumers, physicians, and the general public remain misinformed” about cannabis.

The study is ongoing, but based on the preliminary evidence the authors concluded that “after three months of treatment, MMJ users did not experience executive functioning deficits, which are often observed in regular, recreational MJ users.”

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