A new study suggests that marijuana may have a strange benefit: improving night vision. Based on a pharmacologist’s observation in the 1990s that Jamaican fishermen who smoked or consumed cannabis had “an uncanny ability to see in the dark,” researchers at McGill University dug in.
They applied a synthetic cannabinoid to the eye tissue of tadpoles of an African toad and found, to their surprise, that it seemed to work. Specifically, they found that the cannabinoid made particular retinal cells more sensitive to light, improving the speed at which the eye responded to even dim stimulus, reports the Guardian.
“We didn’t believe what we were seeing,” a study author told the Montreal Gazette. “The cannabinoids were increasing the excitability of cells in the eye that connects to the brain.” Researchers then tracked tadpoles—only some of which had been given the cannabinoid—while showing them dark moving dots,