A recent Australian study that took eight years to unfold followed around 2000 young men and women as part of a public health project. In this project, they determined that the long-term use of marijuana had very little negative effect on learning abilities and long-term memory.
Study participants ranged from ages 20 to 24 when the project first began eight years prior. Throughout the study, participants took intelligence and memory tests on three different occasions.
The group running the study divided these young men and women into three different groups. One group was made up of former users/nonusers. The second group comprised light users. And the third group consisted of heavy marijuana users.
Out of the entire group, 9% of the people were heavy marijuana users. And the light user group consisted of 18% of the 2000 participants. The other 73% of the group consisted of nonusers or former marijuana users.
According to the initial results of the study, former users did worse on these tests when compared to nonusers. But after breaking the results down even further, the differences actually disappeared.
Pot smokers are typically females and males with lower education levels. This skewed the results because it made it seem like marijuana was the culprit for their lack of intelligence in certain areas, but in reality men do worse on verbal intelligence tests than women whether they smoke marijuana or not. Women, on the other hand, tend to underperform in math. Overall, taking all things into consideration, these biases made it seem like pot smoke impact is a lot worse than it actually is.
The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is THC, which makes people forget things and talk slower while they are high. But it doesn’t necessarily cause major long-term damage or serious cognitive distress once you no longer take the drug. So those opposed to the legalization of marijuana want you to believe that it’s really harmful, but we’re starting to learn that this isn’t exactly true.