Marijuana Decreases Functional Decision Making Process: Study

By | September 23, 2011

Till now there are many studies which found that smoking marijuana leads to different disorders like loss of memory, concentration and attention. But now a latest study revealed that chronic usage or prolonged usage of marijuana affects the functioning of brain, especially the decision making process.

The study was conducted by researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The researchers observed how marijuana users performed poorly on Iowa Gambling Task(IGT), which involves complex decision making task in which participants make choices under indeterminate conditions and win or lose money based on their choices.

Sixteen chronic marijuana users and 16 non users performed a modified IGT in a MRI scanner. The goal of making them play IGT is to use the result of their wins and losses to guide future choices towards safe options that result in winning more and losing less. The early phase of IGT is particularly important because early exposure to wins and losses aid the development of decision making strategies that are exploited in the later phases of the task.

The study found that the marijuana users appear to have blunted response to losing. They are not able to figure out how to avoid the monetary loses and this shows that their decreased brain response. They also found that these marijuana users do not care much even if they lose.

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