Review: Cannabis Exposure Shows Little Impact on Cognition in Older Adults

San Diego, CA: Cannabis exposure appears to have no significant adverse impact on the cognitive function of older adults, according to a review of the relevant literature published in the journal Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of California at San Diego reviewed human studies and animal trials specific to the potential impact of cannabis on cognition in older subjects. In the human trials, cannabis exposure revealed “predominantly null findings” in adults ages 50 and older. In animal models, cannabinoid dosing was associated with “improved cognition.” Authors suggested caution in interpreting the studies’ results because of their limited number and heterogeneity. 

Authors concluded: “This systematic scoping review examined current research on the relationship between cannabis use and cognitive function in healthy aging and provides a starting point for future research. … Ultimately, given the recent increase in cannabis use among older adults, future human research should examine the relationship between both early and later-life cannabis use on cognitive function within more homogenous, older adult samples of people who use cannabis.”

In recent years, the proportion of older Americans consuming cannabis has increased dramatically, with many reporting that it mitigates symptoms of age-related illnesses and improves their overall quality of life.

Full text of the study, “The effects of cannabis use on cognitive function in healthy aging: A systematic scoping review,” appears in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology