Some patients may be interested in medical marijuana, but may fear claims that it can lower IQ and can cause brain damage. Studies, however, might say others. Studies have found marijuana doesn't lower IQ, and that marijuana actually has the ability to stimulate the growth of new brain cells.
A breakthrough study published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 found THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids protected brain cells in rats that had been poisoned by the neurotoxin glutamate. They determined all cannabis compounds prevented oxidative damage caused by the toxin, and CBD had higher antioxidant function than even the well known vitamins C and A. In more recent years, other studies have confirmed these neuroprotective properties. Last year, at UC San Diego, researchers found cannabinoids blocked age-related plaque buildup on beta amyloid (Aβ), a neurotoxin which scientists believe contributes to cell death and leads to dementia in the elderly.
Other studies have found cannabis can help improve cognitive function. One study from Israel in 2013 found marijuana may improve learning and memory function. Researchers exposed rats to high levels of stress for two weeks to simulate cognitive deficits found in stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression that causes problems in short-term memory recall and solving spatial tasks. They found cannabinoids not only prevented the onset of these problems, but that they also could reverse them after they set in.
This information has been provided by MassRoots and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. Stay tuned for our followup post, which discusses more studies in which cannabis may benefit the brain.