Author: Mark Gold, MD
Ground-breaking research on the hippocampus and ECs has enhanced our knowledge of the role of molecular mechanisms necessary to process lipid EC messengers. It has been established that circuitry between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex is disrupted by the introduction of exogenous cannabinoid and thus is correlated with impairments in behavior (Kucewicz et al., 2011). Cannabinoids may disrupt cortical function by desynchronizing neuronal communication across cortical domains.
Why Does This Matter?
The deleterious effects of cannabinoids on learning and memory in humans are well documented via observational studies and neuropsychological testing of memory and cognitive abilities. The picture is becoming clearer.
Cannabinoid agonists (marijuana and cannabinoid synthetics) impair long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, resulting in cognitive impairments including attention deficits, poor executive functioning, memory impairment and disruption of temporal perception. Our UF students often described their marijuana smoking as causing ADD or learning problems that required morning cigarettes and psychostimulants to reverse. But they regularly failed, and marijuana succeeded in changing their career path and life trajectory from math, science, medicine or engineering to less rigorous and demanding majors and subsequent careers.