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Cannabis

Long term use can change brain patterns

A connection between long-term cannabis use and false memory syndrome has been found in a new study from Molecular Psychiatry.

The link between memory loss and cannabis use has been known for some time, but the idea that a false memory could actually be implanted wasn't considered as much.

Marijuana use has also been connected to increased anxiety and paranoia. There have been many studies in this area since there is so much data available now, over such a long period. It has been seen that changes to the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain involved in the formation and retrieval of memories, can occur as a result of long term cannabis use. 

Long term effects

The brain can be tricked into really believing something which never happened. However, this mainly only occurs natually in elderly people or those with psychiatric disorders. Neuroimaging shows heavy cannabis users have a markedly different hippocampus compared with the general population.

There are legal implications to this too. Court cases involving testimonies with no other evidence available than the memory of the witness could be impacted if that witness is a cannabis user.

The effect can be seen in as little as 3 years cannabis use, and more so the younger the user.