Opinion: Memory loss

POSTED: 11/22/13 5:00 PM

At times we have been utterly surprised by defendants in our courtroom who claimed that they did not remember anything. Such was for instance the case with the young man that attempted to rob the Tackling gas station in Cole Bay on April 30. He told the court with a straight face that he had gone to the carnival parade and that when he woke up he discovered that he had been arrested and was at the police station.

It is common among youngsters to smoke marijuana – some more than others but still. One could call it a cultural tradition akin to cock fighting.

Researchers at the LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans have found the explanation for the forgetful behavior of marijuana smokers. THC, the active component in marijuana that gives its users a high, activates an enzyme that affects the memory sections of our brain.

We’re not going to get to technical about this but what it comes down to is that this enzyme gobbles up cells that help the brain to remember certain routes. Anyone who manages to get lost between Front Street and Back Street therefore ought to check his marijuana intake.

But the scientists in New Orleans also found a solution for the problem. The painkiller Ibuprofen suppresses the activities of the enzyme. The researchers suggest that taking Ibuprofen could help ganja-blowers to combat their forgetfulness.

While all this sounds clear and simple, there still is a little hurdle to overcome. The researchers tested their theory on mice, and mice are not always a good model for the way humans react to medication. It is also complicated to determine the exact dose of Ibuprofen that is needed to eliminate the memory-cells eating enzyme. And last but not least: it is not at all certain that the enzyme the researchers identified is the only reason why marijuana consumers suffer memory loss.

As long as this is the state of affairs, marijuana users are advised to stay away from Ibuprofen and to use other means to crank up their memory. Solving Sudoku and other brainwrecking activities have proven to be quite useful in this respect. And of course, they are less damaging than the pharmaceutical Ibuprofen.

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