Everyone has experienced a momentary lapse of verbal memory. After all, it is very common to forget an item in a list of commands or to “draw a blank” when trying to think of the right word. These occurrences are completely normal and can be easily rationalized by factors such as lack of sleep, distraction, or hunger.
However, if you’re a frequent marijuana smoker, it’s important to know how this substance can significantly impair many processes in the brain, including those involved in verbal memory.
What Is Verbal Memory?
Verbal memory refers to the brain’s ability to retain and recall items verbally, such as words, sentence structures, and even pronunciation. When the brain processes verbal items, it recognizes and encodes information and when verbal memory is harmed, the brain has difficulty recognizing that information. Verbal memory can be easily examined by one of the following tests:
- Subjects are given a list of words or a short story to study and must then recite the words and ideas. This function is specially sharpened in adolescence during school-years memorization.
- Word association tests during which a person must connect words to associated ideas. This function is important in language and vocabulary development and is built throughout life through repetition and practice.
Most adults should have little trouble mastering these tests, but if their verbal memory has been damaged, they may struggle. For example, they may stutter over certain words, forget how to pronounce simple phrases, use improper words, or even structure sentences strangely.
How Marijuana Affects Verbal Memory
With age, verbal memory function can subtly decline. Adding substance abuse to the equation can accelerate this process. It is no secret that marijuana causes an altered mental state and can cause abnormal speech, thoughts, and behavior. Many people experience lapses in memory while under the influence and continue to have verbal memory loss after the drug has subsided.
In fact, have been conducted to better understand the correlation between marijuana use and long-term verbal memory harm. These studies have concluded:
- Adolescent and adult rats exposed to marijuana endure significant cognitive impairment, including processes involved with communication and memory.
- In humans, neural scans have shown significant impairment in neural connectivity, communication, and verbal memory with chronic marijuana use.
- Adult humans experience long-term verbal memory loss with regular use.
- Marijuana use in adolescents can cause irreparable loss of hippocampal proteins, seriously impairing verbal memory function.
It has been confirmed that marijuana causes significant verbal memory harm in humans. The extent of the damage can vary based on consumption, duration of use, and the age of the person using the drug.
Signs Of Verbal Memory Loss
When verbal memory is harmed due to marijuana use, the only way to prevent further damage is to stop smoking. And friends and family may notice frequent lapses in memory and communication trouble before the person experiencing them. Some key indicators of verbal memory loss include:
- Difficulty remembering a simple word or sentence structures.
- Pausing to gather thoughts or find associative words.
- Trouble in school due to impaired memorization.
- Misuse of words (if uncharacteristic of the speaker).
- Inability to recall items in a list or comprehend information as it is received.
It’s important to remember that marijuana isn’t always the only cause of verbal memory loss. Depression, anxiety, exhaustion, distraction, and hunger affect processes in the brain that impairs memory function and communication. Sudden changes in verbal memory may be indicative of underlying issues if experienced without stimulus. If you are concerned about verbal memory harm, be sure to speak with your doctor.
We Can Help
If you or loved one is experiencing verbal memory loss from marijuana consumption, it may be time to seek help. The caring staff at Addiction Campuses is here to help you find the right resources in your area. Contact us today to avoid falling victim to this problematic condition.