Preliminary evidence from a new study led by Harvard Medical School Affiliate McLean Hospital’s Staci Gruber, PhD, suggests that medical marijuana (MMJ) may not impair, and in many cases, may actually improve executive functioning in adults. Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function, assessed the impact of MMJ treatment on executive function and explored whether patients improved cognitive functioning. “After three months of medical marijuana treatment, patients actually performed better, in terms of their ability to perform certain cognitive tasks, specifically those mediated by the frontal cortex,” explained Gruber.Previous studies have shown that anxiety often interferes with both attention and executive function, so if MMJ products relieve anxiety, it is likely that a patient’s cognitive function may improve. Chronic pain also impairs cognitive performance, especially in tasks requiring executive function, so a reduction in pain will likely increase concentration and cognitive performance.
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