Marijuana Improves Cognitive Performance

McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Tufts University research indicates that Marijuana Improves Cognitive performance.

A scientific paper published in Frontiers in Pharmacology shines a light on marijuana and cognitive function. McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Tufts University research indicates that marijuana improves cognitive performance.

Cognitive performance, is defined as “our ability to utilize the knowledge acquired by mental processes in our brains. A well-functioning brain controls a range of voluntary and involuntary actions. Examples of these actions are the sleep-wake cycle, attention, perception, mood, emotion, appetite-satiety and memory.”

Scientists who published  “Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function” tracked 24 certified medical-marijuana patients over three months. The patients consistently measured for cognitive proficiency via  the Stroop Color Word Test and Trail Making Test.

Staci Gruber, PhD, is the director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School’s largest psychiatric affiliate. Her initial report states marijuana led to patients breezing through an array of brainteasers with enhanced speed and accuracy.

From a McLean Hospital report:

“After three months of medical marijuana treatment, patients actually performed better, in terms of their ability to perform certain cognitive tasks, specifically those mediated by the frontal cortex,” explained Gruber.

Study participants also reported improvements in their specific clinical conditions, sleep, and overall health as well as a decreased use of conventional medications, particularly opiates.
“We saw a 42 percent reduction in opioid use,” reported Gruber. “This is significant, particularly for those of us in Massachusetts and other areas of the country where the opioid epidemic is ravaging so many. This preliminary finding certainly warrants deeper and broader investigation.”

The preliminary findings from McLean Hospital’s pilot study assessing the favorable impacts of cannabis on adult human brains need to be further explored. Investigations into marijuana’s ability to improve our mental functioning and reduce our susceptibility to opioid dependence should be happening now.

“Splendor in the Grass?” lead Staci Gruber  is correct in her approach to unraveling and establishing best marijuana practices.

“People are going to use it,” she concludes. “It’s up to us to figure out the very best and safest ways in which they can do that.”

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