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Is Pot Making You Insane?

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You might want to put down your bong before you forget how to fire it up: Heavy marijuana use can mess with your brain , finds a new study from Spain.

Researchers used word tests to assess the memory recall of regular smokers—those who had an average of 5 joints a day for the last 2 years—and people who toked up fewer than 50 times in their lives.   

Participants with a penchant for pot were much more likely to mistakenly believe they had already seen words that were actually new to them—just because they were similar to ones they did view previously.

Blame the brain farts on THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its kick. THC has long been known to interfere with several aspects of memory, says study author Jordi Riba, Ph.D. 

Flubbing random words doesn’t seem like it would make a difference in your everyday life, but these findings could point to a larger problem. 

“Memory distortions involve not only memory structures of the brain, but also areas involved in attention and cognitive control, like problem solving and reasoning,” Riba says.

The study found that marijuana’s memory effects tend to linger, since the smokers in the study were actually told to abstain from weed for 4 weeks before the test. 

“THC is eliminated very slowly from the body,” says Riba. “Even occasional users will experience memory problems, but they’ll probably be limited to the hours or days after smoking.”

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