Why We Think It’s Important 

This study explores the impact of prescribed medical cannabis on cognitive function in 40 participants with various health conditions, revealing modest overall effects despite improvements in specific cognitive tests. 

Introduction & Overview 

The surge in medical cannabis use prompts the need for insights into its effects on cognitive function. A recent trial explored this, focusing on prescribed medical cannabis’s impact on neurocognitive performance. Involving 40 participants with diverse health conditions, the trial assessed cognitive performance using CANTAB and a Druid app before and after participants self-administered prescribed medical cannabis. Products included oils and vaporized flower, with chronic pain being the primary indication for use. 

Key Findings & Implications 

While improvements were noted in specific cognitive tests, overall impact on cognitive function was modest. Vaporization of flower elicited stronger subjective effects, notably feeling ‘stoned’ and ‘sedated,’ compared to oils. For those managing chronic conditions with medical cannabis, the study offers reassurance regarding minimal acute cognitive impact. However, the study’s limitations, such as a small sample size, underscore the need for larger, controlled trials. 

Looking Forward 

As medical cannabis research progresses, larger studies will provide more nuanced insights. These findings lay the groundwork for future exploration, guiding informed decisions for both healthcare professionals and patients. This study contributes to unraveling the connection between prescribed medical cannabis and cognitive performance. While more research is warranted, these initial findings pave the way for a deeper understanding of how medical cannabis impacts neurocognitive function. 

Arkell TR, Manning B, Downey LA, Hayley AC. A Semi-Naturalistic, Open-Label Trial Examining the Effect of Prescribed Medical Cannabis on Neurocognitive Performance. CNS Drugs. 2023 Nov;37(11):981-992. doi: 10.1007/s40263-023-01046-z. Epub 2023 Nov 9. PMID: 37945917; PMCID: PMC10667416.