New Study Suggests Recreational Cannabis May Reduce Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

New Study Suggests Recreational Cannabis May Reduce Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

A recent study published in the journal Current Alzheimer Research has shed light on the potential cognitive benefits of recreational cannabis use among adults aged 45 and older. Conducted by researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University in New York, the study aimed to explore the association between cannabis consumption and subjective cognitive decline (SCD).

Analyzing self-reported data from 4,755 U.S. adults aged 45 and older who participated in the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the researchers investigated various aspects of cannabis use, including frequency, methods of consumption, and reasons behind usage. Surprisingly, the study found that non-medical cannabis use was “significantly associated with 96% decreased odds of SCD,” as stated in the study’s abstract.

Co-author of the study, Prof. Roger Wong, Ph.D., MPH, MSW, emphasized the need for longitudinal studies to fully understand the impact of cannabis on cognition. While the findings suggest a potential protective effect of cannabis, Wong highlighted the importance of considering factors such as the direction of causality and the influence of federal legality on research limitations.

The study’s findings raise intriguing questions about the role of cannabis in cognitive health and aging. Researchers speculate that various factors, including cannabinoid compositions and cannabis’s potential to alleviate sleep and stress-related issues, could contribute to its observed effects on cognitive decline.

As cannabis remains federally illegal, further research into its cognitive effects is hindered. However, longitudinal studies could provide valuable insights into the long-term impact of cannabis use on cognition.

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