Good news, marijuana doesn’t make you dumber. Unfortunately it does make it more difficult to remember… words?
A new study has found that for every five years spent smoking weed, one out of two people remember one word fewer from a list of 15 words, Live Science reports.
The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, featured more than 5,000 adults between 18 and 30 years old from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
During a series of follows up visits, they were asked if they’d used weed within the last month. At the 25 year mark, participants were asked to take a test which measured their verbal memory, processing speed and decision making ability.
After adjusting for other factors like depression and drug abuse, researchers found that long term smokers performed worse in all three tests. However the link between marijuana use, processing speed and decision making may have been due to chance and not an impact of smoking.
The researchers aren’t sure how smoking marijuana affects verbal memory. One theory is that THC – the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects – may affect the way information is processed in the brains memory centre, the hippocampus.
The good news is that long-term use was not significantly associated with decreases in other cognitive function, including processing speed and decision making.