Alcohol lowers IQ, not pot, new study concludes--Oct. 23, 2014
Moderate marijuana consumption does not change your intelligence quotient, but alcohol and tobacco use strongly correlates to getting dumber.
That’s the results of a new study presented this week at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual congress in Berlin, Germany. It totally contradicts recent federal government claims cannabis has an effect on IQ, and therefore should remain illegal.
Researchers looked at 2,612 children in Bristol England born in 1991 and 1992 and tested them at age eight and 15. “Our findings suggest cannabis may not have a detrimental effect on cognition, once we account for other related factors particularly cigarette and alcohol use,” the study lead author tells the Independent Business Times.
“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 particular alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline,” the authors wrote in a press release. “No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”
Chronic cannabis use as a teen is associated with a marginal decline in IQ, but it’s hard to judge causality.
“It’s hard to know what causes what. Do kids do badly at school because they are smoking weed, or do they smoke weed because they’re doing badly?” the authors told IBT.
Congress chair Guy Goodwin of Oxford told BBC News that the new study suggests the war on cannabis obscures real harms to youth IQ, like alcohol, which is neurotoxic, tobacco, and drug war-driven poverty and marginalization.
U.S. drug war proponents have trumpeted a New Zealand study showing lifetime, chronic cannabis is associated with lower IQ.
But critical researchers note socioeconomics, not subjects’ cannabis use, was responsible for differences in IQ and that the plant’s “true effect [on intelligence quotient] could be zero.”
Other studies also indicate “[M]arijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”