Hazed and confused: you’re ganja forget a lot
Sarah Brewington | Staff Writer
It might be time to get off the grass. Mary Jane may not be the girl you thought she was.
That dazed student with wide eyes, who looks like he is on another plane of existence, may be losing more than their worries. In fact, they might have relinquished their memory. That affectionate friend that brings good vibes and better snacks to the party might also be bringing amnesia, and the amnesia might be here to stay.
Marijuana has been known to induce short-term memory loss amongst its users, but a new study reveals that it might affect the long-term memory as well. According to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, frequently consuming marijuana in your adolescence might affect your transition into middle age. The study found that many middle-aged adults who used marijuana beginning at age 18 and who still used it, had difficulty recalling information that others did not.
The study explained that a certain group of individuals created the most interest.
“[The purpose of the study was] to study the association between cumulative lifetime exposure to marijuana use and cognitive performance in middle age,” the study said.
The research followed over 3,000 adults over the course of 25 years, each claiming to have used marijuana at different levels. While 84 percent of the test subjects had used marijuana, only 11 percent of them claimed to still be using it by year 25. The study found that adults who used marijuana longer seemed to suffer more long-term memory loss than those who had not.
Whether it is time to give up the grass is a question amongst University of San Diego students.
Junior V.C.* explains that she still uses marijuana despite the effect on the short-term memory alone. “From personal experience it is true that marijuana does lead to [short-term] memory loss but it has also helped me to recall certain memories that I once had forgotten,” V.C. said.
The study has yet to raise questions about the legalization of marijuana. Only four states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. As with any drug, marijuana has long term effects, and so far it seems to affect the long-term memory. Despite this new research V.C. says that it should still be legal.
“I don’t think that the idea of memory loss should play that big of a role in legalizing marijuana when it’s pros of health benefits greatly outweigh loss of memory,” V.C. said.
V.C. is referring to the use of marijuana to ease pain, decrease anxiety, slow down Alzheimer’s disease, and in some cases fight cancer. Marijuana has become such a popular drug because of the lack of long-term side effects. Low concentration, occasional paranoia, and the munchies are not major deterrents from the high that comes with marijuana.
This new study is one of the first to claim more permanent damage. The study cited people who had continued to use marijuana for decades. If this is enough information to ward off people from using the popular drug, it has not shown any lasting reactions yet.
V.C. explained that this does not affect her own thoughts toward marijuana.
“I have used [marijuana] and will continue to,” V.C. said.
While the study claims new findings, others may be more skeptical. The verdict is still out on whether the next batch of pot brownies is worth it. The next time students are about to get baked, they might think twice about it. The study yields is a reminder from scientists that drugs are drugs, no matter how enticing they are.
*name of the USD student who was interviewed has been abbreviated for privacy.