Duke University published a story in 2012 linking heavy marijuana usage with declining IQ in teenagers. However, Columbia University noted the sample size of heavy users was too small, just 38 students, and believed the results were generalized. Another study was published just 6 months after the original study was conducted, showing where the Duke studied was flawed: “Although it would be too strong to say that the results have been discredited, the methodology is flawed and the causal inference drawn from the results premature.”
A study out of the University College of London provides an even clearer picture at how the study was inaccurate. A new study uses a much larger sample of children, approximately 2,600 children from the U.K. born between 1991 and 1992. Researchers conducting the study measured the IQ of the children at age 8 and age 15. The study showed no indication of lower IQ in cannabis using teenagers. Other factors such as alcohol usage and cigarette usage were taken into account during the study. Marijuana had no relation to lower IQ scores. Alcohol however showed to be very predictive of declining IQ scores.
The study did determine that marijuana users are impaired educationally to a slight degree, even among the heaviest marijuana users. Students seemed to score about 3% lower on tests and state exams when taken at age 16 and compared to their results at age 9.
The focus on finding the dangers of using marijuana could be distracting people from the more plausible standpoint that marijuana can lead users down a life of risky lifestyle choices. Many skeptics say that medical marijuana legalization could make more harmful drugs freely available as well. However, advocates behind medical marijuana say there are lots of behaviors that could affect a person’s lifestyle choices, many of these behaviors would be more likely than pot. Regulating marijuana use makes no more sense than regulating these other behaviors. There has also been no corresponding negative outcome during the last decade of medical marijuana legalization. If marijuana led to poor lifestyle choices, this would be reflected in society as marijuana has become more available.
It’s very reasonable for parents to assume that use of any substance, whether it be marijuana or a prescription medicine, could result in declining grades or a weakened performance educationally. This is why states such as Colorado and Washington have laws in lace to limit marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21.
With this study and many more confirming that long-term or heavy marijuana use doesn’t affect IQ scores, research is showing that medical marijuana is safe and practical. Although it may impair short-term memory and make it difficult to focus, marijuana won’t lead to mental health decline. It could be assumed that marijuana is safe for the elderly and those at risk of mental health disorder. Marijuana’s affects are believed to be short-term, with no lasting or life altering long-term repercussions. However, marijuana use does result in tar and smoke being inhaled into the lungs, which can cause cancer and lead to lung disease. Using a marijuana vaporizer or a similar product to lessen the impact that marijuana smoke will have on your lungs is a credible way to improve its safety.
Dylan is a full-time, in-house writer for Green Wellness, a business out of the Washington region located in Seattle, Lynnwood, Olympia, Spokane, Vancouver and many oher locations. Green Wellness provides patients with medical marijuana cards and evaluations with real doctors.