It’s official! Getting high will not make you that stoner guy! We’ve all heard the stories that smoking weed makes you stupid, but two new studies on young people suggest that smoking weed has little impact on IQ or general intelligence.

The Myth

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A 2012 study from the Duke University has led us to believe- in part at least- that smoking herb can be detrimental to the intelligence of young people. This is particularly prevalent during adolescent development i.e. during the teenage years and into early adulthood, with the study concluding that marijuana use contributes to:

  • Poorer grades/results
  • Reduced ability to retain information
  • A decline in I.Q. and cognitive abilities
  • On-going issues of addiction

What They Failed To Mention

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The study failed to take into account other environmental factors, which have since been shown to have a larger impact on both marijuana use, and a decrease in the intelligence of young people. These include things like:

  • History of mental illness
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol abuse

New Evidence

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We all know that smoking weed is safer and better for you than having a drink, and it seems that could be the case in young people as well. There have now been two new studies released which have come to different conclusions. The

The first used a sample group of 2235 British teenagers and found that ‘adolescent cannabis use is not associated with IQ or educational performance’ once the aforementioned environmental factors have been taken into account.

Twins to the rescue

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The second took a closer look at identical twins from the U.S. in studies where one twin smoked marijuana and the other did not, and no it did not include the elusive Thompson Twins. Rather the study has taken on the Duke University findings by tracing the development of twins from before trying weed, between the ages of 9-12, and after the primary stages of development i.e. 17-20 years old.

By doing so, the research was able to accurately account for familial characteristics, and genetic factors, which may have their own influence over a decline in intelligence. We are glad to report that the twin-test came to the same conclusion, with the study finding that ‘marijuana-using twins failed to show significantly greater IQ decline relative to their abstinent siblings.’

So can kids get high all the time?

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Plain and simply, no. Whilst the studies have shown that moderate use may not lead to a decrease in I.Q. it does not account for heavy use, or the implications that this could have over a longer period of time. It has also been suggested that if young people are already struggling in school this could be a contributing factor to trying marijuana, which may lead to a larger influence of other environmental factors.

It does, however, go a long way in supporting our call for policy reform, by removing what has always been a key argument in the debate, and opens up new avenues for research in the field.

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