Marijuana use increases false memories finds study

Marijuana use increases false memories finds study

Study: Non-medical cannabis use is more common in adults suffering from pain The team explained that this was a placebo-controlled trial where both immediate and long term effects of intoxication with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or marijuana was tested against a placebo. The study included 64 healthy volunteers. The participants were divided into two groups, with one group taking placebo and another group marijuana without their knowing the contents of their intake. The users were asked to use a Volcano Vaporizer to vape or inhale the marijuana or placebo. The amount in the vapourizer was regulated, and the participant smoked one whole balloon per dose. Under the influence of the drug or place, their memories were tested immediately and again after a week. Three different methods were used to test for memories – the first was a list of associative words that were read out to them, and they had to repeat them back. The second and third tasks were visuals of virtual reality where the participants were asked to witness an event (for example, a fight on the platform while in a train compartment). Two scenarios were created – one as a virtual reality eye witness scenario and another as a perpetrator scenario (they become a student in need of money and steal a wallet in virtual reality). Results revealed that those who were intoxicated had a higher number of false memory insertion compared to those who were on placebo. In the associated word list, those on marijuana had a higher level of false recognition (saying a word was on the list when it was not). This false recognition or false insertion of words was seen both immediately and after one week of the intoxication. False memories were observed in both the virtual reality scenarios among those using marijuana. Ramaekers said, "This study showed that cannabis increased the number of false memories across all three memory paradigms." It could be due to the activation of the hippocampus - the memory center of the brain, wrote the researchers. Ramaekers said that there might be a "fragmentation of thought, loosening of associations and heightened distractibility," with marijuana that could be causing this phenomenon. First author Lilian Kloft, a psychopharmacology researcher at Maastricht University, said that this also meant that persons under the influence could admit to committing a crime they did not commit. The team wrote in conclusion, "Cannabis seems to increase false-memory proneness, with decreasing strength of association between an event and a test item, as assessed by different false-memory paradigms." This, wrote the researchers, could have an impact on police interviews of suspects as well as eyewitnesses high on marijuana. Journal reference: The contribution of cannabis use to variation in the incidence of psychotic disorder across Europe (EU-GEI): a multicentre case-control study Di Forti, MartaAmoretti, Silvia et al. The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 6, Issue 5, 427 - 436, https://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1920162117



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