The high overlap of cannabis users and gamers is no secret. Log in to any online multiplayer game–World of Warcraft, Halo, Call of Duty–and you’re sure to see at least one gamertag with a reference to weed or smoking it. Many stoner/gamers also swear up and down that they play better after sparking up a joint. And while anti-drug groups may view the couch potato activity of smoking and playing video games as a plight on society, there may be evidence to suggest that getting high and loading up your favorite game might improve your memory retention.
A recent study by the Groningen Mental Enhancement Department in the Netherlands observed the effects of marijuana use and gaming on Alzheimer’s patients over the course of a year. Culture Magazine reports:
“All the test subjects played increasingly challenging games each day, but half the group was also administered smoke. Would you believe that the marijuana test group scored 43 percent better memory retention than the control group?”
This news might seem counter-intuitive to a lot of cannabis consumers. Stoners are notorious for forgetting what we were talking about mid-conversation. Hell, some of us–myself included–have been known to forget what we were saying mid-sentence. However, according to the Neurobiology of Aging journal, THC can actually help memory retention. A paper published in their December 2008 edition reported that the cannabinoid “reduced brain inflammation and improved memory in older rats,” according to MSN Health.
So will doctors start recommending Alzheimer’s patients toke up and play Left 4 Dead? Probably not. But down the line, as more studies like this one come out, there’s a chance that they might suggest patients take cannabis in their preferred method and play games like Tetris or Brain Age, which stimulate brain activity beyond hand-eye coordination and visceral imagery.
One thing’s for sure: it sounds like a pretty fun way to medicate.