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Marijuana Research: Pot Smoking and Tobacco Use Increase Memory

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According to Francesca M. Filbey PhD, approximately 70% of marijuana smokers also use tobacco … and apparently that’s a good thing for our memory.

Scientists have long believed that smoking marijuana and/or tobacco products – when consumed independently of each other – often leads to the hippocampus shrinking, which was believed to result in a reduced capacity for learning and memory comprehension.

However, Dr. Filbey’s research published in the Behavioral Brain Research Journal has turned that notion on its head. Noting that there’s an inverse effect when tobacco and marijuana are both consumed by individuals. In her report, Dr. Filbey noted that as the hippocampus got smaller from marijuana and tobacco consumption, memory got stronger.

As a general rule of thumb, the average study excludes tobacco smokers from participating, but since approximately 70% of marijuana consumers also smoke tobacco, Dr. Filbey was interested in investigating the combined effects of marijuana and tobacco. And what she found was amazing!

“The smaller the hippocampus in the marijuana plus nicotine user, the greater the memory performance.”

The research was specifically targeted at the hippocampus region of the brain, as the smaller hippocampal is thought to be associated with chronic marijuana use. Her study of short-term memory loss primarily focused on the hippocampus, as it is associated with memory and learning in the human brain. The primary discovery was nothing short of shocking. As the stunned doctor noted, “We expected the opposite.”

Their conclusion will be hard to forget: ” We also found differential associations between brain and behavior such that smaller hippocampal volumes were associated with poorer memory performance for controls, while in MJ + Nic users, smaller hippocampal volumes were linked to relatively higher memory scores.”

Good to know…

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