A One Month Break From Pot Could Improve Your Memory

Lost your keys this morning? Forgot to close the garage door? Did you just realize, Heaven forbid, that you aren’t wearing deodorant? Try laying off weed for a month.

Taking a four-week break from using marijuana may improve neurocognitive function in adolescents and young adults who regularly use cannabis, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The study, “One Month of Cannabis Abstinence in Adolescents and Young Adults Is Associated With Improved Memory,” was published October 30 in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. — Psychology Today

The researchers examined 88 Boston-area residents ages 16 to 25 who regularly use cannabis. Participants were randomly selected to ditch pot for four weeks to see if there were any cognitive changes. And there were. Verbal learning skills and memory function improved among the group that abstained, but did not among those who continued using marijuana as normal.

“We can confidently say that these findings strongly suggest that abstaining from cannabis helps young people learn, while continuing cannabis use may interfere with the learning process,” the study’s lead author Randi Melissa Schuster, told the Harvard Gazette.

“Our findings provide two pieces of convincing evidence. 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.”


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