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The effect of marijuana on memory is its most dramatic and the easiest to notice. Many inexperienced marijuana users find that they have very strange, sudden and unexpected memory lapses. These usually take the form of completely forgetting what you were talking about when you were right in the middle of saying something important. However, these symptoms only occur while a person is high. They do not carry over or become permanent, and examinations of extremely heavy users has not shown any memory or thinking problems. More experienced marijuana users seem to be able to remember about as well as they do when they are not high.
Studies which have claimed to show short-term memory impairment have not stood up to scrutiny and have not been duplicated. Newer studies show that marijuana does not impair simple, real-world memory processes. Marijuana does slow reaction time slightly, and this effect has sometimes been misconstrued as a memory problem. To put things in perspective, one group of researchers made a control group hold their breath, like marijuana smokers do. Marijuana itself only produced about twice as many effects on test scores as breath holding. Many people use marijuana to study. Other people cannot, for some reason, use marijuana and do anything that involves deep thought. Nobody knows what makes the difference.