Summary and opinion by Mariama Mcgee.
A study published recently in the JAMA Internal Medicine confirmed that smoking intense amounts of marijuana can do damage to your short-term memory. The study examined 3,400 Americans over the span of 25 years and tested their cognitive abilities at the end of the study. The researchers controlled many factors that affect cognitive performance such as age, education, and other substance use. Participants who smoked daily for five years or more had poor verbal memory.
Reto Auer, professor at University of Lausanne and head of the research, measured marijuana exposure through a new measurement called “marijuana-years”. One marijuana year is equal to smoking every day for a year, or smoking every other day for two years, or once a week for seven years.
The relationship between marijuana and memory is mainly linear meaning that the more marijuana you smoke, the worse you will perform on memory test. For every five marijuana-years of use, the more your memory worsens. Only 8 percent of the participants in the study had more than five marijuana-years of use.
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Still, the stigma persists. Many people see cannabis users as lazy, unsuccessful, and potentially troubled human beings. Where does this dated stoner stereotype come from? We could cast the blame upon television, movies, or newspapers, but we could also act mature and admit our own responsibility for the unfavorable image.