Marijuana Use Does Not Lead to Lower IQ

A new study of UK schoolchildren has found that, contrary to the popular belief; moderate marijuana consumption will not lower your teenager’s (or yours, mind you) IQ – the study has found that moderate cannabis use among teenagers may not lead to a lower IQ and poorer exam results. However, the study has also come across some alarming indicators that teenagers who regularly use cannabis, at least 50 times by the age of 15, may tend to do worse in exams. The research, performed by the University College of London, followed 2,612 children born in the Bristol area during 1991 and 1992. The results were presented in Berlin at the European Conference of Neuropsychopharmacology.

How the study was conducted

Each participator in the study had their IQ tested at the ages of eight and again at 15. At this time they were also given a survey on cannabis use. Besides, their examination results were also considered as scientists analyzed whether cannabis use had affected their intellectual and educational performance. Lead researcher Claire Mokrysz, of University College London, said the findings suggested cannabis “may not have a detrimental effect on cognition, once we account for other related factors – particularly cigarette and alcohol use. This may suggest that previous research findings showing poorer cognitive performance in cannabis users may have resulted from the lifestyle, behavior and personal history typically associated with cannabis use, rather than cannabis use itself.” In fact, the only substance the study found to lower IQ was alcohol, a government authorized and approved drug. While cannabis improves a variety of medical ailments, alcohol is mostly just plain old harmful and addictive.

The importance of the new study

The potential and importance of this study are huge because, most of all, it suggests that the current focus on the (alleged) harms of cannabis may be the reason for obscuring the fact that its use is often closely related with that of other more freely available drugs, such as alcohol. Lifestyle factors such as smoking tobacco or consuming alcohol are so often neglected in various studies and surveys about marijuana. Majority of recreational cannabis users who live in Western countries are mixing their weed with tobacco when smoking it. Other folks, whether they are medical users of marijuana or are simply consuming it without tobacco are most often not “other drug” free.

There is also this other, most interesting fact about this new study – it runs in obvious contrast to what an internationally publicized Duke University study found in 2012. That famous study has found that using marijuana in adolescence led to irreversible drops in IQ–an average of 8 points. Although many scientists almost immediately rushed to object to the efficacy of the Duke study, it wasn’t until now and the University College of London’s findings that anyone has managed to prove it wrong.


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