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Smoking Weed May Hurt Your Verbal Memory

First Posted: Feb 10, 2016 05:56 PM EST

A new study published in JAMA shows that individuals who smoked weed during their teenage years remember fewer words as they age.

A sample of 3,400 who participated in a 25 year study period (with adults ranging in age from 18 to 30) showed lower levels on tests for verbal memory, processing speed and executive function, according to the KDWN.com.

"In this study, there are as much women as men, as much black as white, as much lower education as higher education," said Dr. Reto Auer, one of the study's authors, via CNN. "It provides a better sense of what the association is in the overall population."

The findings suggest that current marijuana use is linked to poorer verbal memory and processing speed.

Previous studies have suggested that smoking marijuana could affect verbal memory. However, it does not seem to affect any other domain of cognitive function, researchers say.

For every five years of past marijuana exposure, verbal memory was lower, with about half of participants remembering one word fewer from a list of 15 words used in the study.

"Young adults may be skeptical about advice on the putative adverse health effects of marijuana, which they may see as being overstated to justify the prohibition on its use," the authors write. "More research on how young people interpret evidence of harm from marijuana and other drugs would be useful in designing more effective health advice."

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