PMID: 591936Dec 1, 1977

Marijuana and memory intrusions

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
A PfefferbaumB S Kopell


Sixteen college-educated male subjects were tested on free-recall lists during intoxication with marijuana extract calibrated to 0.3 mg/kg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and during placebo conditions. On each testing day subjects studied six lists using a regular overt rehearsal procedure and six lists using an association-overt rehearsal procedure in which they were to rehearse alound both list items and associations to those items. Both marijuana and the association-rehearsal procedure reduced the number of correct recalls and increased the number of intrusions (nonlist items which were incorrectly recalled as having been on the list to be learned). The intrusions were divided into three categories: a) words found on prior lists; b) associates spoken during the rehearsal; or c) totally new works not previously mentioned. Marijuana significantly increased the number of new intrusions; the association-rehearsal procedure did not. This result suggests that one of the effects of marijuana on cognitive functions in humans is to increase the number of intrusive thoughts and this may be the mechanism involved in some of the thought disorder observed with marijuana intoxication.


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