• uncanni
    This article may be of interest, hippocampal neurogensis and memory:Pantagruel

    I looked at it, but I see a lot of that research as, well, quite partial. Why on earth test THC on animals? This makes no sense to me. Further, there is a lot of research out there on how Cannabis (not an isolated cananbinoid or a synthetic version of THC, but rather the whole plant and all the chemicals in synergy, helps with ADHD. A few of my students say Cannabis tincture helps them to focus and concentrate better.

    It's quite mysterious how it can have such different effects on different people. But I see that as part of the nature of Cannabis. How I feel using it now is nothing like what I felt in the 1970s.
  • Andrew Furr
    Marijuana can have various affects on cognition, even within one person. From my experience, it depends on the nature of one's interest and their prior understanding of the topic.

    To begin, it acts as a stimulus, increasing heart rate and things like that, so its not surprising that many thoughts can start flying across one's mind. It can bring you into a new space regarding an old problem, or maybe get you interested in something that was never quite your cup of tea. Studies on increased heart rate have findings along the line of this: someone is on a stable bridge during a conversation will not have as much interest in the person they are speaking to as someone that has a conversation on a bridge that is dangerous. This is because the increased heart rate is confused as arousal in the other person. Tying this in, one's physiological arousal can lead them to thinking that what they are saying is more profound than it actually is. So, when experiencing something new for the first time while high, someone may find this thing exceedingly interesting. The down fall would be a decreased arousal experience the next time someone engages in the same activity. I've had this issue with studying a topic that I went to class stoned for. In this way, if someone is not stoned all the time, or at least in the same state of mind that they were when they came across the topic, it can have negative effects on understanding. This is also confirmed in psychological studies, which note that memory is influenced by things such as mental state or location. For example, studies show that students do better on tests if the exam is in the same room that they learned the information, opposed to a different room.

    This all being said, it looks like marijuana may not be good for learning, even though it can increase attention for periods of time. Unless, one stays stoned all the time, but this leads to increased degradation in areas of the brain as well, and should be avoided for physiological and psychological reasons, of course unless the marijuana is to assist some disorder. I believe it has wonderful medical advantages for many, but to use it irresponsibly can cause ADHD like symptoms, according to some studies, in those that have never displayed them previously. So it has its pros and cons like everything else.

    Though marijuana may seem like a good way to get into something new, I personally believe it is more efficient to use it to enhance something familiar. Once something, like a paper or song for example, is composed and edited, smoking marijuana before a final viewing could really open up the perspective and allow for a "break through." It may allow for something new to be seem due to a higher analysis, propagated by increased physiological attention processing. Furthermore, the hallucinogenic like effects of marijuana give it an edge that you will not experience with cocaine or caffeine intake, but is not as over bearing as something like mushrooms or LSD (which are more useful for self and relational aspect recognition, often beyond what language can accomplish). After understanding the fundamentals of some theory well, which is arguably much easier to do and remember while sober, marijuana can be used to discover new variables and functional possibilities. It loosens the constraint on what is being processed and allows for a improvisation that can lead to wonderful and novel results.

    For example, learning how to play the piano well requires discipline and practice. One must follow the established rules to learn where the keys are and how the scales go; until one becomes nearly perfect and can perform them without thinking. But these scales are not interesting to listen to! Someone must come up with new things, build upon these scales, and combine them in new ways in order to create something beautiful. But you cannot begin with randomness. One must control themselves in constraints, until they know well enough how to perform without them. I find this to be an analogy with marijuana. Get good at something a familiarize yourself with it sober, so that it can reliably be retained and practiced in a stable mental situation that does not require any additional additives to achieve. Once that is accomplished, I believe marijuana can definitely be used to reach new heights.

    I apologize for not having references for the studies I claim about, but I assure you they are out there! I am open to any response!
  • uncanni
    Unless, one stays stoned all the time, but this leads to increased degradation in areas of the brain as well, and should be avoided for physiological and psychological reasonsAndrew Furr

    I never heard before that Cannabis degrades the brain.
  • Andrew Furr
    Yeah, that was very general and poorly worded on my part, I apologize. What some studies have found is that THC can have negative impacts on the hippocampus, which can possibly lead to problems with long-term memory. This doesn't seem to happen when one smokes only occasionally, but having the CB1 receptors active for too long can cause problems, as well as feelings of fear and anxiety, instead of euphoria. Also, heavy THC use appears to cause the loss of neurons to increase. Around the mid-twenties, it is said that we lose multiple thousands of neurons per day as an effect of aging, and THC is thought to increase the speed of this process. So it may begin to affect cognitive ability and mental function is used to regularly. CBD acts differently, but that's another story. These affects are thought to happen because heavy marijuana use inhibits the release of amino acids and monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain.
    So, all in all, it seems that it can cause effects on the brain that are similar to that of aging, or rather, increase the speed at which these negative effects begin to have an impact. So, "brain degradation" sounds a little intense, but in a sense, it does happen.
    On a side note, I am not against marijuana in any way and have enjoyed it on many occasions in my life. I just support it in moderation, pretty much like anything else.
    I hope this helped make the comment more clear, and I look forward to any response!
  • uncanni
    I'll have to look into that, although I take a lot of the online information about Cannabis with a grain of salt, or less. There's a shit ton of shit information about Cannabis on the internet. There are a few medical researchers whose articles and books are trustworthy--Ethan Russo is one I trust. According to him, the benefits of THC and all other Cannabis chemicals on the Endocannabinoid System are not to be scoffed at.

    That being said, however, of all the many things that impact the brain negatively--alcohol, cigarettes, air pollution, stress, poor diet, etc.--I'll stick with Cannabis.
  • Andrew Furr
    Yeah, there is definitely a lot of conflicting information out there. I also think that it goes by a person to person basis, where someone effects may be more prevalent depending on who was sampled. Not to mention, confounding factors that may have played a role more dominantly than cannabis itself. It for sure needs more testing. The fact that there is so much conflicting evidence points towards the negative effects not being nearly as bad as other things, such as alcohol, which we clearly understand as bad for you. At least I think so, whatever that is worth.

    I also definitely think the obvious positive effects for many outweigh the potential negative side effects in most cases, but ignoring any side of a scientific argument can be dangerous unless it is clearly ridiculous.
  • Andrew Furr
    other than mentioning how it affected my interest in a topic in my first comment, the comments have nothing to do with my consumption of any drug. They’re just relaying findings in scientific studies. Whether these studies are conclusive or are to be refuted it yet to be found. Of course, people report more positive results from marijuana use, and ima sure that there are more benefits that negatives. But to ignore potential negative findings is just as ignorant as the people who ignore the positive ones and say marijuana is dangerous. I’m not saying it is bad, but many things have pros and cons, and it’s something we have to accept. It surely is safe relative to almost all other recreational drugs, and I advocate it’s legalization and use. But the facts that it may effect memory is outside of my wishes and experiences for what it does. I’m more than open, and actually hoping, to the fact that these findings may be refuted or based on poor studies/ bad evidence. But they’re still worth paying attention to if one wishes to completely understand the effects of some substance on brain function
  • Wallows

    You still need that money you asked from me in PM, herr doktor?
  • Andrew Furr
    Well, marijuana originally helped me with depression and anger. I'd get very angry with some event and smoking always allowed me to think about the situation in a way that wasn't so defensive and self-centered. It helped me imagine different perspectives and outcomes. I ultimately solved this issue through other means, but cannabis use certainly helped me relax and ponder the issue while young.

    These days, I use it more recreationally than medicinally. When I have been playing my drum set for while and find myself repeating the same beats over and over, I like to take a nice hit. It really puts me in a different place and I can connect more with what I'm trying to accomplish. I don't know exactly what place it put me in. I wouldn't say it makes me more creative, per se, but rather opens up and changes the way that I play. I guess that could be interpreted as creativity, but I'd search for a more clear definition before subscribing to that. Also, when writing a paper and forming an argument, I like to smoke before I review the paper. Not for grammar or anything, though it does give me an eagle eye for those kind of things, at least the first time I smoke that day. (Successive smoking in one day tends to just make me tired and my thoughts can't get organized, but the first go-round is always up=lifting and productive). It really helps me think of counter-examples to my argument that may have not been present when writing. So, it augments my ability to think outside of the box.

    As for your claims about humans not understanding one another; I agree. There is a degree of empathy that can be expressed. And there have been cases where one may be able to explain a problem to someone that that person can't seem to understand about themselves. I believe introspection is really good for looking into oneself and attempting to find a pattern that one may call a self, but sometimes an outside view can really provide insight into how one relates to the world that they are in. And that is the self, in my opinion; a relation to others in the world. (that debate is thrilling as well!). But, there is something that it is like to be me, or for anyone, that cannot be experienced by anything else and which I have a special right to. There are aspects of being me that are for me alone and that will not be comprehended by anyone else, at least with the level of connection now shared in the world. Some neuro scientists and philosopher claim that one day we will bridge this gap, but I am skeptical. There seems to be something, in principle, that it is like to be me that no amount of brain scanning could possibly expand on. But this sounds a lot like dualism, which I do not subscribe to. Its just a perspective that another simply cannot take. Its part of being an individual.

    This strong sense of individuality; this, "you cannot understand me" leads to a lot of issues I think. Though, it seems to be our natural state of mind. We do not function like an ant hill does. Some even argue that anthills are one super organism, while we clearly have boundaries. We communicate well, but language has its boundaries. Many of our thoughts are not articulated in language, but may appear as images, or merely feelings that have more meaning than words can so far describe. Its all far more complicated than anything I claim to be able to expand on.

    And for existential pains, I think it goes both ways. It can be worse or better while under the influence. It depends on many things, such as setting, openess to other views and the people who are in your life. Drug use, mainly psychedelics and marijuana, are potentiating. That create a potential for great thoughts and realization, or anxiety and despair. And yes, I think that even un-laced weed can provide with despair. Its all about how and when one uses the substance. If one is thinking really hard about not having a job and gets stoned, one may either fret even harder because they are smoking instead of going out a doing something about it, or they may re conceptualize the issue and immediately get to work. It depends on the person and the circumstances. Cannabis can provide the potential "energy" but its up to the person to use it wisely.
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