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Marijuana mangles memory.

Marijuana mangles memory

Teenagers who abuse marijuana can suffer problems with their short-term memory up to six weeks after they stop smoking the drug, researchers have found.

Richard H. Schwartz of the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and his colleagues began the study after Schwartz noticed that marijuana-abusing teenagers in a drug treatment program often had trouble remembering rules and following conversations.

Memory loss poses cone of the main problems with kids who smoke pot," Schwartz says. "They think they're losing their minds for good."

Nine teenage boys and girls who abused marijuana did much worse on short-term memory tasks than a group that abused drugs other than marijuana or a group that abused no drugs at all, the researchers report in the October AMERICAN JOURNAL OF DISEASES OF CHILDREN. Six weeks later, the researchers found to their surprise that marijuana abusers, although their memories had improved slightly, still did worse than the other two groups, Schwartz says.

Marijuana abuse hits hardest those teenagers who do poorly in school, Schwartz says. "The bright compensate for it, the average get by, and the low IQs are devastated by it," he says.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 18, 1989
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