Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Can smoking weed reduce risk of cognitive decline?

A study out of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University (maybe they should consider consolidating that title…) found that consuming marijuana can lower the risk of cognitive decline by 96%.

That’s a gigantic number and right away my skepticism radar pinged. But it seems that even the authors of the study themselves were surprised by the results.

“I was expecting cannabis to be linked to an increased risk for cognitive decline, because that’s pretty much what’s consistent in previous research. I was stunned by the opposite finding,” says coauthor Roger Wong, Ph. D..

Here’s the previous research that Roger Wong was referring to. However, the abstract plainly states that its research did not finding any conclusive evidence that long term decline was more likely. So, that leaves room for Wong’s study to come in with a more fine-tuned approach.

Importantly, Wong’s study looked into Subjective Cognitive Decline, which is based on self-reported incidences of confusion or memory loss. However, those who report Subjective Cognitive Decline are 2.5 times more likely to develop dementia, according to a different study.

Wong used a sample size of 4,800 respondents who were aged 45 and older.

The study seems to be rather extensive, however it only shines a light on a correlation, and much more needs to be studied here before any conclusions can be made. For now, we can continue to throw our hands up and claim that the research is all over the place, and anyone in bad faith can easily cherry pick their favorite narrative out of all of this. I’ll pick the one where I won’t be getting any dementia.

Read the write-up over at Fortune Well for more detail on the study, and the actual study here.

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