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Drug Effects On Memory

             In a recent psychology research project conducted at the University of Iowa, scientists experimented on marijuana and its effect on the brain's ability to memorize and retrieve. With the use of 31 participants, 18 of the subjects smoked marijuana at least seven times a week; most of them smoked marijuana more than seven times a week. The scientists wanted to test the experimental subjects on their ability to remember a group of words and whether or not they could recall or retrieve the information. The hypothesis tested was that frequent marijuana use has an effect on a person's blood flow to memory regions of the brain.
             The participants used in the experiment were 18 frequent marijuana users and 13 nonusers of the illegal drug. None of these participants had other related problems with alcohol, visual impairments, obesity, mental illnesses, and none were currently on a drug that would affect the positron emission tomography (PET) reading of the brain. The participants were asked to not use any type of drug seven hours prior to their hospitalization to begin tests. Each participant was asked to remember a list of 15 common words, such as drum, bell, etc., until that patient was able to repeat the list of words in order twice consecutively. The patients were then put into the PET scanner where they were asked to repeat the lists so that the scientists could get a blood flow reading. During the PET session, the patients were also asked to repeat a new list of words that were read off to them.
             The results of the experiment showed a slight difference between the users of marijuana and the nonusers. The hypothesis was not quite supported because there was not a large enough difference between the two experimental groups of people. When asked to memorize the first list of words, there was a slight difference between the two groups because the marijuana users needed to have the list read off to them more times to learn the words perfectly.

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