As cannabis consumption becomes common in the US, it is also giving rise to notions. Some are constructive arguments based on studies, while others lack viable support. One of such debates has been regarding the effects of cannabis consumption on a person’s general cognitive abilities.
Some people argue that the use of recreational cannabis makes a person smarter, while others oppose this claim. In this article, we will discuss the matter in the light of available studies to come to a factful conclusion.
The General Notion
Cannabis has long been associated with improved focus, and enhanced creativity in users. Studies have actually found that using cannabis a certain way may increase the user’s ability to focus on given tasks. However, a recent study deduced that the overconsumption of THC could lead to a decrease in cognitive abilities.
What perplexes several avid users is that despite what the study states, millions of people have first-hand experience with THC and have experienced improved awareness. It may be that users are only under an illusion that they are performing well, while in reality, they may not be delivering beyond par.
Studies Side with Both Arguments
Anybody who has ever consumed recreational cannabis is likely familiar with the post-consumption ability to focus that it provides, and how it can trigger the creative side of your brain.. THC tends to act as the fueling agent of your brain, enabling you to come out of your shell and enjoy heightened cognitive abilities. Such users are certain that ‘cannabis insight’ is real.
In fact, there are several dispensaries on the market that make sales of adult-use cannabis based on the promise that their products will enable users to expand their minds and think from angles they weren’t able to before. Other recreational cannabis products guarantee social alertness and the ability to clear your head. In short, there are recreational cannabis users who are willing to back THC’s ability to enhance cognitive skills.
Experts argue that we may be looking at this issue the wrong way. While THC may be able to improve short-term brain performance, it is also a possibility that it could hinder long-term development. However, extensive studies are required to determine if brain function reduces in the long term upon getting routine exposure to THC.
A similar case has already been seen with coffee and its neural effects. Although drinking coffee wakes you up and sharpens your focus on that particular time, it can affect a person’s long-term memory.
Similarly, a study conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine found out that although THC increases a user’s immediate focus, it also affects connectivity in the cerebral cortex, requiring the brain to work harder to maintain focus.
Another study at the University Medical Center Utrecht went on to conclude that a user’s performance tends to fall below par following the consumption of THC. Another study conducted at the University College London deduced that THC makes it difficult to focus. The study also concluded that using THC makes it difficult to maintain a clear chain of thought.
A Potential Answer
While most neuroscience studies conclude against THC’s ability to enhance focus, experts believe that there is certainly a missing puzzle piece, and that the actual experiences of millions of cannabis users must bear some valid weight.
One potential answer to this perplexity are cannabis breaks. Some experts argue that it might be the break we take to inhale a few puffs that give our brain a break and help it to get back to work a bit more focused.
Another more probable answer to counter the studies is that research always takes THC into account in isolation. Experts use high-Sativa extracts for studies, which could lead to unbalanced cannabinoid ratios, and unexplainable results.
They believe that the presence of other cannabinoids, particularly CBD, may lead to different results as cannabinoids like CBD can counter the effects of THC. Furthermore, CBD is just one cannabinoid – there are 144 more at the very least that are present in cannabis. All of these cannabinoids react with each other to provide a more balanced outcome for the user.
It’s Still a Debate
If THC reduces your cognitive abilities, then how come millions of users around the world beg to differ? This is a question that remains up for debate in the community. We first need to find the missing puzzle piece as to why the results from neuroscience studies are opposing the on-ground facts.
More research is currently required in this area to determine the actual effects of THC on a user’s cognitive abilities. However, one thing is for sure, if THC was as ineffective as the abovementioned studies claim it to be, then so many users across the globe would not have been using it specifically to enhance focus or trigger their creative side.
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