- Trials on mice showed those exposed to cannabinoids had memory impairments
- Brain scans by British and Portuguese researchers then confirmed the finding
- The new experiment shines a light on the little-known dangers of cannabinoids
Smoking cannabis or taking medication based on the drug can harm the brain and damage memory, research has found.
Trials on mice showed those exposed long-term to cannabinoids – compounds found in the marijuana plant – suffered ‘significant’ memory impairments.
Brain scans confirmed the finding, and showed cannabis can stop vital memory-controlling regions of the organ communicating with each other.
Experts fear both recreational users and those who rely on it to combat their health conditions may be at risk of memory problems.
The study comes after Government advisers yesterday declared doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis, which contains the potentially harmful cannabinoids.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) agreed cannabis does possess a medicinal benefit, in a review sent to to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
He commissioned the review after two high profile cases, including that of epileptic 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, whose mother had seven bottles of cannabis oil that helped combat his seizures confiscated at Heathrow Airport.
Trials on mice showed those exposed to cannabinoids – compounds found in the marijuana plant – long-term suffered ‘significant’ memory impairments
For years scientists have warned smoking cannabis can lead to mental health problems, such as schizophrenia.
Studies have shown cannabis can also shrink memory-related structures in the brain, most notably the hippocampus.
But there is little understanding of the potential negative side effects of cannabinoids, such as CBD.
The new experiment, led by scientists at the universities of Lancaster and Lisbon, shines a light on the dangers.