As people continue to debate on whether to legalize marijuana, US researchers now warned that there is more point to consider when making arguments. They discovered the harrowing fact that marijuana is actually tied to middle age verbal memory decline.
Findings from a new study reveal that long-term marijuana use can negatively affect one important cognitive function, Reuters Health reports. Young adults using marijuana constantly can find themselves regretting this when they enter middle age as their performance on verbal memory tests becomes poorer.
According to the lead researcher, Dr. Reto Auer of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, they did not expect to see a strong and consistent relationship between chronic exposure to marijuana and verbal memory loss in the middle age. Interestingly, the findings hold even when factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and many more other behavioral factors were already accounted for.
The findings specifically revealed that for every additional five years of marijuana use, there is a 50% chance that these long-term users will remember one less word from a list of 15 tested words. "Recreational marijuana users use it to get high, to benefit from the transient change it produces, but this transient effect might have long term consequences on the way the brain processes information and could also have direct toxic effects on neurons," Auer warned through his email to Reuters Health. The researcher claimed the study that was done was far from perfect, but the findings are worth considering, especially since more people are now exposed to marijuana.
The worrying findings come amidst more voters embracing the idea of legalizing marijuana, and the sale numbers can prove it. According to Fortune magazine, the market for legal pot has boomed remarkably. Legal cannabis sales jumped 17% in 2015. It is expected to grow further this year, to reach an estimate of $6.7 billion in total US sales.