Chronic Marijuana Use Affects Memory and Cognitive Function
The emerging marijuana legalization effort in the U.S. has created growing concerns about the effect that chronic pot use will have on the developing brains of teens and young adults. A recent CNN article highlighted research findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that point to diminished verbal memory, processing speed and executive function in those with lifetime exposure to marijuana.
The study was conducted over a 25 year span and included over 3400 adults. Various standardized tests were used to assess participants across a range of functions. It was demonstrated that those with an early onset of marijuana use or who became constant users of marijuana experienced the sharpest decline in IQ scores.
A recent survey found that more high school students now smoke marijuana than cigarettes. With the liberalization of of medical marijuana laws and the increased promotion of marijuana use in society, it has become easier for adolescents to participate in persistent, daily use of marijuana according to JAMA.
Young adults are at times overly skeptical of facts & science on drugs assuming these facts have been overstated in order to justify the prohibition of drug use. JAMA researchers have suggested that continued efforts be made to learn how young people interpret evidence of harm from marijuana and other substances.