Recent Study: High-Potency Cannabis Does Not Impair Decision-Making Performance

High-potency cannabis may not affect decision making but can affect memory.
09 July 2021
2 min read
Recent Study: High-Potency Cannabis Does Not Impair Decision-Making Performance

Washington State University researchers observed a test group as they consumed high-potency flowers or concentrates obtained in legal cannabis dispensaries and found no impact on decision-making tests in comparison to the non-consumers. However, they did find memory impairment related to source memory, false memories and free recall.

One of The Few Researches On High-Potency Cannabis

Despite the results being similar to previous research on low-potency cannabis, this study is one of the few that studied the effects of high-potency cannabis with more than 10% THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient and it’s the second study known to study cannabis concentrates.

The lead researcher on this study claims that due to the federal restrictions, it was not possible to perform this kind of study a couple of years ago; Researchers were limited to studying cannabis with less than 10% THC but now that the general population has legal access to high-potency products, with some having more than 90% THC, they’re able to perform such studies.

Despite being legal in some states, the US government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug so researchers had to find a way to study the effects while still complying with federal rules. In order to comply with federal guidelines, participants had to buy products at legal cannabis dispensaries and consume them in their own homes and were never in a laboratory on federal property. Due to being an uncommon way to perform a study, the study had to be approved by the university’s research ethics board.

How The Study Was Implemented

There were 80 participants in the study which were divided into four groups: Group 1 consumed flowers with more than 20% THC, group 2 consumed the same cannabis flowers but also consumed CBD, group 3 vaped concentrates that contained CBD and more than 60% THC, and Group 4 remained sober. All groups that consumed cannabis found no effect on decision-making tests, finding no differences between cannabis groups and sober groups, including the ability to remember things at a later time. The cannabis groups also did well on the ability to remember the sequence of previous events but researchers found a surprising discovery. The groups that consumed CBD were unable to remember words or pictures, which is the opposite of the results shown in previous studies claiming that CBD might protect memory.

The groups that consumed CBD and the groups that consumed concentrates were the worst performers in being able to distinguish how the learned information was presented. Ultimately, all cannabis groups did very badly when given a new word and asked if it had been presented before, they usually said it had been when it was not. Another surprising result is the fact that the group that vaped concentrates performed almost the same as those who smoked flowers due to the fact that they had to consume less to get the same effect as those who smoked flowers.

Researchers claim that there has been a lot of speculation on how concentrates can have dangerous consequences but there’s not enough research to come to a conclusion, despite the fact that there’s not enough data, this study concluded that concentrates had the same effect as cannabis flowers and did not increase harms.

09 July 2021