The preliminary results of a study led by Mclean Hospital's Staci Gruber, PhD, and published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology suggest cannabis may be effective in improving cognitive function. The longitudinal study hopes to test the neurocognitive outcomes of 24 certified medical marijuana patients before treatment and after 3, 6, and 12 months of treatment. Currently, 11 of the 24 patients have completed their 3-month evaluation, but results already suggest that after 3 months of treatment patients completed an array of cognitive tests faster and with higher accuracy than they had before. Gruber explains, “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.”
Additionally, the researchers use self-report questionnaires to see how medical marijuana affects patients' sleep quality, depression levels, overall health, and use of conventional medications. So far, patients have reported less sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression, positive changes to their quality of life, greater energy, fewer limitations on behalf of physical health, and a reduction in use of prescription medications. Opiate use, specifically, went down by about 42.88%, while antidepressant use dropped by 17.64%, and mood stabilizing medication use dropped by 33.33%.
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