Giving up marijuana improves memory in just one week, study shows

Attention rates, however, remained the same whether smoking or not.

  • 88 youngsters from Boston were recruited for the study. 55 of them managed to abstain the full 30 days.
  • Memory improved one week after abstaining, although attention rates stayed the same.
  • The researchers hope to conduct a six-month test.

According to a recently study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, if you stop smoking marijuana, your memory will improve. Real shocker here from the science community, folks!

88 teenagers and young people from Boston were recruited for the study, and offered 62 of them money to stop smoking marijuana for 30 days. Of those 62, 55 abstained for the full month, while the remaining seven probably thought they were suuuuper cooool by lying to the good folks at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where the test was held.

The 55 saintly individuals who didn't smoke were monitored as MJ-Abst, or marijuana abstinent. The 26 who continued to smoke marijuana (and the seven rascals who defied the medical community with their flagrant disregard to the law) were monitored as MJ-Mon, which sounds like it could be a Jamaican DJ, but in fact stands for 'Marijuana Monitored', which sounds like it could be a Canadian talk show, but isn't.

All subjects were given weekly urine tests to see whether they were following the abstinence. Memory and attention tests took place weekly for the 30-day trial.

The study itself is most clear in its findings in this paragraph:

There was an effect of abstinence on verbal memory (P = .002) that was consistent across 4 weeks of abstinence, with no time-by-abstinence interaction, and was driven by improved verbal learning in the first week of abstinence. MJ-Abst participants had better memory overall and at weeks 1, 2, 3 than MJ-Mon participants, and only MJ-Abst participants improved in memory from baseline to week 1. There was no effect of abstinence on attention: both groups improved similarly, consistent with a practice effect.

Translated into humanspeak, this means that memory functions improved significantly after about a week for the 55 good souls who managed to eke out a full month without the devil's cabbage, while the 26 who kept on tokin' (plus the seven trouble-makin' ne-er-do-wells who basically got paid to smoke weed, despite breaking the rules) saw only small improvements in memory in the tests. According to the lead researcher of the study, Randi Schuster, this could most likely be attributed to getting used to the test, reports New Scientist.

The study also means that memory quickly goes back to pre-marijuana use levels within just a couple of days of not smoking. Ultimately, this means that people can learn better when they're not using marijuana, which is stated explicitly by Randi Schuster in a press release (which is behind a paywall):

"The first is that adolescents learn better when they are not using cannabis. The second – which is the good news part of the story – is that at least some of the deficits associated with cannabis use are not permanent and actually improve pretty quickly after cannabis use stops."

U.S. News reports that the Boston team wants to conduct a six-month trial next, to see more long-term effects.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Beyond Meat announces plan to sell ‘ground beef’ in stores. Shares skyrocket.

Beyond Beef sizzles and marbleizes just like real beef, Beyond Meat says.

Culture & Religion
  • Shares of Beyond Meat opened at around $200 on Tuesday morning, falling to nearly $170 by the afternoon.
  • Wall Street analysts remain wary of the stock, which has been on a massive hot streak since its IPO in May.
  • Beyond Meat faces competition from Impossible Foods and, as of this week, Tyson.
Keep reading Show less

7 most valuable college majors for the future

The most valuable college majors will prepare students for a world right out a science fiction novel.

Harvard University
Technology & Innovation
  • The future of work is going to require a range of skills learned that take into account cutting edge advancements in technology and science.
  • The most valuable college majors in the future will prepare students for new economies and areas of commerce.
  • Mathematics, engineering and science related educational majors will become an ubiqitous feature of the new job market.
Keep reading Show less

Here are the U.S. states with the highest prevalence of psychopaths

A recent study used data from the Big Five personality to estimate psychopathy prevalence in the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C.

Surprising Science
  • The study estimated psychopathy prevalence by looking at the prevalence of certain traits in the Big Five model of personality.
  • The District of Columbia had the highest prevalence of psychopathy, compared to other areas.
  • The authors cautioned that their measurements were indirect, and that psychopathy in general is difficult to define precisely.
Keep reading Show less