Srinagar, Nov 26: A study has revealed that long term use of cannabis affects cognitive functions and can cause severe dysfunction in working memory.
The study conducted by Zoya Mir, a noted clinical Psychologist along with Dr Yasir Rather Professor, Department of Psychiatry (IMHANS) GMC Srinagar to understand the cognitive functioning of people who smoke cannabis has revealed that it can give short term relief but affects cognitive functions.
The study has revealed that cannabis affects the visuospatial processing of an individual and hence affecting them while driving a vehicle.
It also said that cannabis affects the inhibition function and cognitive flexibility, the two core executive functions meant for planning and decision making.
“So people who use cannabis will have difficulty in controlling their impulses and will have impaired decision making. This impairment affects their daily life, their personal, social as well as academic or occupational life without them even noticing it,” Zoya said.
Also, she said that use of cannabis results in mild impairment on mental flexibility, set shifting and attention while on recent and remote memory no dysfunction was seen in the majority of the participants.
“Our study findings suggested severe impairments in working memory, attention and concentration ability, learning new information, visual and verbal memory, ” she said.
A very common myth among youngsters is that cannabis doesn’t affect our cognition and it isn’t addictive. But the research doesn’t approve it,” she said.
Majority of patients with Cannabis Dependence Syndrome (78%) lived in nuclear families and this could have a possible explanation because urban areas tend to have more nuclear families with both parents working, higher socio-economic status which somewhere puts children off the radar of regular supervision and being alone. “So, children of such families are more prone to use cannabis. Around 98% of people using cannabis were unmarried which indicates that the unmarried population were more inclined towards using substances,” Mir said.