A new study published Monday found people who took just one hit of weed doubled their number of “false memories” in a virtual reality scenario compared to those who puffed on a placebo, said study author Johannes Ramaekers, a professor of psychopharmacology at Maastricht University in The Netherlands.
A false memory is a recollection of something that didn’t occur or a memory that is different from the way it actually happened, often triggered by suggestions from others.
“We are all prone to the formation of false memories, independent of cannabis use,” Ramaekers said. “The susceptibility for false memory, however, increases with cannabis. Under cannabis, users can easily accept fake truths for true memory.”
A potential impact
Why does this matter? With state after state considering legalizing marijuana, a rise in false memories could play an increasingly larger role in criminal matters, said co-author Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychological science in the department of criminology at the University of California, Irvine.
“This new work is suggesting authorities need to be extra careful when interviewing somebody,” Loftus said. They should consider removing “them from a situation where they might be exposed to suggestive information that could contaminate their memory.”
And there’s the possible creation of false memories that affect friends, family and work colleagues. “Formation of false memories may alter the interpretation of work-related activities and social interactions with others,” Ramaekers said.
Sourced from: CNN