As Marijuana’s legalization and popularity continues to grow worldwide, it’s important to know the facts of this drug. A new study led by the University of Lausanne, Switzerland shows the risk that heavy pot users can take after years of smoking. Short-term memory loss is the main harmful effect caused by smoking weed on a daily basis, according to Lausanne’s scientists.

Although recreational use of cannabis poses no big threat for stoners, five years smoking every single day might impair verbal memory. The fact there’s a genuine bond between chronic marijuana use and verbal memory loss took scientist by surprise, said Dr. Reto Auer, lead author of the study. The association between memory loss and heavy marijuana use is not news, yet this recent study brings hope for those seeking to determine causality.

Photo: LiveScience
Photo: LiveScience

For every five years of continuous pot smoking, on average, one out of two people could recall one fewer word than a non-smoker from a list of fifteen, researchers claim. The study suggests a significant loss of the ability to recall words for everyday cannabis users.

The results, based on data collected since 1989, consists on 3500 young adults who completed a series of cognitive tests that targeted verbal memory, processing speed and executive function. However, cognitive abilities as focus and processing speed did not seem to be impacted by severe marijuana use.

It was also found the regular use of marijuana leads to more decreased verbal memory in the subject. Still, these findings fail to take into account many factors as alcohol or cigarette effects regarding brain cells, therefore, limiting the study. Its worth noticing that cognitive tests were only done once at the end of the study, rather than a before and after type of test to put side by side.

Marijuana’s active chemical THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) may be responsible for decreasing a person’s cognitive function, according to researchers at University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Although it is uncertain how cannabis exposure might damage verbal memory, researchers believe its due to the way information is processed in the hippocampus.

With medical marijuana getting more accessible in almost all of the US, it is important to know the downsides of pot in order to make informed decisions. The recent study published by the University of Lausanne calls for more caution on the regular users of weed in this moment of reforms proposing to legalize recreational pot. So, while the search for causality between a decreased cognitive ability, researchers agree its wise to warn and update potential users about the ills related to this drug.

Source: Reuters