Scott Isbell had been smoking weed since he was 17. By the time he turned 19, he was having difficulty setting goals and meeting deadlines at college. His grades had dropped from A’s to B’s and he was losing friends. Still, none of it seemed important enough to give up marijuana — until he started theater class.
A recent analysis of previous research on the impact of cannabis on young’s people’s cognition found that many of the known learning and memory difficulties — such as slowed processing speed, and difficulties in focusing — could linger for weeks. Verbal learning, retention and recall were especially affected for longer periods when the person was no longer high, researchers from the University of Montreal found.
“The cannabis of today is very different,” said Carrie Cuttler, an assistant professor in the department of psychology and director of the Health and Cognition lab at Washington State University. “Back then cannabis had maybe 3 percent THC, now we’re seeing as much as 90 percent in some samples.”