Marijuana Lowers IQ When Used Regularly
There are common beliefs among marijuana smokers that are just plain false. Such as the claim that marijuana is non-addictive, or that it allows for higher concentration and does not affect one's IQ. A recent study has found that the opposite however, is true.
The idea that marijuana abuse amongst teens is harmless and has no lasting effects has officially been laid to rest. Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, the authors found a drop in IQ among those who began smoking regularly prior to the age of 18.
'Regularly' in this study means daily use. The drop in IQ was measured at 8 points; this is a significant difference. Although IQ does bounce around depending on which test is used, and how a person is performing on any particular day, participants who started using marijuana after the teen years did not exhibit this effect.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported a trend toward greater cannabis use in adolescents. The assumption is that partial legalization for medical purposes has changed the perceptions of the youth who now consider marijuana less dangerous. The study considered IQ scores from tests administered when participants were only 13 years old, before any marijuana use. Compared to the scores of tests given at age 38, the IQ decline is persistent, meaning that the changes in the brain are permanent.
At this point, damage may well be occurring in adults as well; however, testing has not resulted in a positive indication of this so far. It only stands as a theory for now. The difference between the presence of brain alteration in under-aged marijuana smokers, and the lack thereof in adults, is attributed to the fact that the human brain does not fully develop and mature until after the age of 18. Researchers also believe that this factor is exactly why the damage becomes permanent for those who abuse marijuana at a young age. With continued use, the brain will mature around the damaged components and continue in this manner.
At this time, it is unknown how marijuana is affecting our youth so negatively. It may be as delicate as a change in the cellular level. Researches will continue to study the effects to discover what alterations are happening in the brain, to fully understand how intelligence is being permanently affected.
Marijuana has been found to lower motor function, reaction speeds and problem solving abilities. If these areas are permanently affecting young marijuana abusers in the long run, then it can mean serious disability in the future, which could potentially bar these people (once they are grown) from important careers and activities.
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