Marijuana and Memory Study

This study seeks to understand the relationship between memory and chronic marijuana use.

Marijuana is one of the most widely used substances, but the effects of use on brain function are poorly understood. This study aims to measure brain activity and structural differences between those who have used marijuana long-term and those with no extensive history of use. Our neuroscientists measure brain function by using safe, state-of-the-art neuroimaging technology to measure brain structure, as well as brain activity during a memory test.

Researchers on this team:

  • Michal Assaf, MD

  • Alecia Dager, PhD

  • Godfrey Pearlson, MD

  • Michael Stevens, PhD

Who can participate?

Right-handed individuals between the ages of 18-22 may be eligible to participate. The study is recruiting for two different groups:
  1. Individuals who report current and heavy marijuana use

  2. Individuals with little-to-no history of drug use to serve as comparison subjects

Because of the use of MRI, anyone who has a permanent metal object (such as braces) inside his or her body cannot participate.

What will I do if I participate?

Qualified participants will complete:

  • an interview asking about lifetime drug and alcohol use, mood symptoms, and other lifetime experiences

  • neurocognitive testing that measures things like memory, attention, and concentration

  • questionnaires inquiring about mood symptoms and/or marijuana use

  • a safe and non-invasive MRI scan (which looks at structure of the brain, concentrations of certain brain chemicals, and brain function while you complete a memory task)

  • donation of a saliva, urine, and/or hair samples (optional)

These activities may take 6-7 hours and can be scheduled over two visits, if desired. All information is kept strictly confidential and will only be reviewed by the research staff.

What do I get out of this?

Participants are compensated $20 per hour when completing study procedures. You may also request a CD copy of your MRI if desired.

How do I get involved?

If interested, please complete an online screening form (following the link below) to determine your eligibility for the study. All responses to this screening form are kept confidential and will only be reviewed by the research staff. 

Who can I contact with questions about the study?

If you have any questions about the study, or would prefer to complete the screening questions over the phone, please contact Chelsea Meagher at 860-545-7106 or at