New Study: Marijuana Doesn’t Lower IQ
A common argument against legalizing marijuana is the assumed effect it has on cognitive abilities. The caricature of the burnt-out stoner is an all too common sight in today’s media. This stereotype makes uninformed parents and voters fear that marijuana will make their kids dumb; and through that fear they can threaten your investment by voting for restrictive marijuana laws.
In 2012, parent’s fears were seemingly proven true when a study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences purportedly showed a correlation between teen marijuana use and cognitive decline later in life.
Despite criticisms from other researchers over the study’s methodology, there are many out there that still believe the study and are consequently reluctant to see the cannabis industry open up shop in their home state. However, new evidence has come to light that may contradict those findings.
According to a study published by the University College of London, when taking into account socio-economic factors, marijuana has little to no effect on IQ or cognitive ability in teenagers. Professor Guy Goodwin, President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, spoke with The Independent about the study.
“This is a potentially important study because it suggests that the current focus on the alleged harms of cannabis may be obscuring the fact that its use is often correlated with that of other even more freely available drugs and possibly lifestyle factors.”
Teen drug use seems to be more complicated than skipping class and smoking a joint.
How is it that two academic studies can reach two completely different conclusions? Let’s take a look at the two conflicting reports.
As mentioned previously, the study which showed a correlation between low IQ and cannabis use received some criticism over its methodology. While they did take into account other drug and alcohol use, what they did not account for was socio-economic class. Social class plays a huge role in how well a child does in life and that gap is widened when drug use is thrown into the mix. Furthermore, only 8 percent (38 out of 1,037) of the children studied actually used marijuana, which is too small of a sample to yield accurate findings.
On the other hand, the study conducted by UCL studied 2,612 children for a period of seven years. The children were given an IQ test at eight and once again at 15. Factors like social class, home life and past drug use were taken into account. Although there was no negative correlation between marijuana use and IQ, children that heavily used marijuana were shown to do slightly worse than their peers academically.
This finding should not be altogether surprising because teenagers that just sit around and smoke marijuana all day are not going to do well in school. What is important though is the fact that teens that smoke marijuana are not causing lifelong damage, rather they are just making poor life decisions.
This is an important distinction to make. Prohibitionists argue that legal marijuana can irreparably harm children; studies like the one conducted by UCL debunk that argument. Once people realize that marijuana will not make their children stupid, they will be much more amenable to the idea of opening up the cannabis market.
The more people that understand marijuana is safe, the less you have to worry about concerned parents voting your business investment out of town. By sharing and spreading this information, you can help win the national marijuana debate and secure the future of your investment.