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Marihuana and retrieval from short-term memory


Twelve subjects received an oral dose of marihuana extract calibrated to 20 mg of δ 1-tetrahydrocannibinol on Day 1 of the experiment and performed a short-term memory task before and after administration of the drug. The subjects were then split into two groups, receiving either marihuana or placebo on the evenings of Days 1 to 4 and between two memory test sessions on Day 5. Placebo subjects showed little change in performance between the two test sessions on Day 5; however, results from Day 1 for all subjects and Day 5 for the drug group showed that reaction time increased from before- to after-challenge sessions. This increase in time under marihuana was explained as a change in encoding and/or response processes, rather than processes involved in the search of the memory store.

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This research was supported by grants MH-03030 and MH-19918-02 from the National Institute of Mental Health and a grant from the Van Ameringen Foundation. The authors thank Pat Murphy for her assistance in collecting data.

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Darley, C.F., Tinklenberg, J.R., Hollister, T.E. et al. Marihuana and retrieval from short-term memory. Psychopharmacologia 29, 231–238 (1973).

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Key words

  • Marihuana
  • Memory Search
  • Retrieval from Memory
  • Encoding Processes
  • Response Speed