By Bahar Gholipour
Stoners may not be as forgetful and absent-minded as the stereotype suggests. A new study finds that heavy marijuana users are just as good as everybody else at remembering tasks they need to do in the future.
This ability, called prospective memory, is the brain’s internal calendar, which keeps track of your to-do list — the appointment you have later in the day, the stop you want to make on your way home, medications you need to take every day and so on. But while forgetting to pick up milk is annoying, a lot more can go wrong when prospective memory fails: It’s also what’s thought to be responsible when a surgeon forgets to remove a surgical tool before closing up a patient or when a parent leaves a baby in a hot car.
Heavy use of some drugs such as alcohol and opioids may impair prospective memory, but there isn’t sufficient research on whether marijuana has similar effects, said David Diamond, a professor of psychology and molecular pharmacology at the University of South Florida who wasn’t involved in the new study. “This is an important area of research as marijuana is becoming legalized,” he said.
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