The State of Connecticut has recently decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and treats it like a minor traffic violation where those under than 21 would face a 60-day driver’s license suspension, similar to the penalty for underage possession of alcohol. However, it should be remembered that marijuana remains illegal under federal law (and is against Trinity College policies.) In addition to the possible criminal penalties for marijuana use, it is important to consider the long term health consequences of marijuana on short term memory.
The use of marijuana has dramatically increased in recent years. Currently 10 out of the 50 states in the United States have legalized marijuana and the legalization of marijuana at the federal level is being considered as well. It is therefore essential to thoroughly analyze the physical and mental effects marijuana has on the human body in order to educate the public about potential health consequences of sustained marijuana use and before action is taken to further legalize the drug. Marijuana is currently a Schedule One drug that is primarily smoked or ingested and activated cannabinoid receptors in the human body to induce pleasure. Scientists believe the THC in marijuana travels through these cannabinoid receptors located in the brain’s frontal cortex and hippocampus which in turn can potentially cause damage to both of these areas which are primarily concerned with the brain’s ability to recollect short term memories Thus the impact of marijuana use on short term memory is an issue that deserves attention.
In a recent study conducted by Professor Reto Auer published in the New York Times, he concluded that marijuana use on a daily basis over five years had a negative effect on short-term memory. While the effect he found was not that significant over that time period, if the negative effect on short term memory and pot smoking continued at the same rates, the impact upon short term memory could be severe. So although in Connecticut you may not land in jail, you should keep in mind that the impact of marijuana may remain with you forever.