While studies have found cannabis does not harm, and may even benefit, cognitive performance in the elderly, this may be a different story for adolescents and young adults. In a new systematic review and meta-analysis published in JAMA, researchers found continued cannabis use was associated with small declines in cognitive function among adolescents and young adults. The review looked at 69 cross-sectional studies of 2152 cannabis users and 6575 comparison participants with a mean age of 26 and under. Researchers reported a small but significant overall effect size for a reduction in cognitive functioning among those who reported frequent cannabis use. Although cannabis was found to decrease cognitive performance in the study participants, the study also found that this decline is not permanent, and that abstaining from cannabis use for 72 hours diminishes the cognitive deficits associated with cannabis use. The study also suggests previous reports of cognitive decline associated with cannabis use may have been overstated. As attitudes and policies continue to shift in the face of cannabis legalization, the researchers call for further examinations on the use of cannabis and cognitive functioning.
This information has been provided by JAMA and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.