Research Conflicted When It Comes to Marijuana and Brain Function


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With voters in five states preparing to hit the polls this November to decide whether marijuana should be made legal—putting the United States in the position of possibly having more legal marijuana states than not—some reports have suggested that one of the biggest concerns right now is how all of this legal weed will impact the overall intelligence of the great American populous.

It seems that since federal government has remained hell bent throughout the years in refusing to allow any significant research to take place to study the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant, there are still those people out there who are convinced that the consumption of cannabis could have negative consequences on the human brain.

This is largely due to most of those folks growing up during a time when public service announcements ran during Saturday morning cartoons that not only insisted that marijuana was a dangerous and addictive drug but also that it would, in fact, fry brains.

Come to think of it, those non-creative prohibitionists are still trying to push that nonsense in 2016.

OK, sure, there have been studies that have shown a slight drop in IQ points in those people who began smoking marijuana in their younger years—during a time when the brain was still developing—but the researchers behind these finding concluded that there was nothing to suggest that people who started using marijuana in their adult lives experienced any cognitive decline.

Nevertheless, the study, which was published by researchers in New Zealand, has been the center of much controversy for the past few years because other scientific minds argue that it did not take into account a number of crucial factors, including upbringing and household financial status.

In fact, this research was responsible for inspiring Nicholas Jackson, senior statistician at the University of California, who had a heavy hand in a popular marijuana IQ study published earlier this year, to get to the bottom of all this “pot reduces intelligence” business by comparing twins. His concept was simple: By exploring two people with the same genetics, the same household, with the only difference being that one smokes marijuana, it should be easy to determine whether the stoner sibling was dumber than his sober counterpart.

Only the outcome of the study was not that cut-and-dry.

“If marijuana was causing IQ decline, what we would expect to see is that the twin who goes on and uses marijuana should have IQ deficits,” Jackson told NPR. “We don’t find that.”

Obviously, IQ points fluctuated for the sets of twins utilized in the study, but at the end of the day, researchers found no evidence that marijuana was transforming the stoned sibling into more of a degenerate than the other.

There is not likely a single marijuana user in the world who would dare say that his or her experience with the leaf has turned them into slobbering moron—most would argue that cannabis has expanded the scope of their intelligence by allowing them to become more introspective and self-aware. But you guessed it—there really is no concrete evidence to support this claim because the federal government simply does not support this type of research.

However, medical experts have said that what is typically being mistaken for a decline in brain function is actually just a marijuana user’s short-term memory taking a temporary vacation.

Dr. Mitch Earleywine, professor of psychology at the University of Albany, told NPR that while being stoned at school may prevent a student from learning a state capital, “when it comes to things that are more liquid intelligence, more fluid intelligence, they’re usually pretty good at those because it requires just intelligence in the moment, so to speak.”

Interestingly, the federal government is preparing to launch a major research program to study the link, if any, between drug use during the formative years and a decline in brain function. Researchers with the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study (ABCD) will monitor thousands of 10-year-olds as they make the journey into early adulthood, utilizing neuroimaging technology to spot any discrepancies in the brain.

But for now, there doesn’t seem to be too much concern that the American population is destined to become a legion of red-eyed zombies as more states move to legalize in 2016. In fact, some of the latest polls coming from states with marijuana ballot measures up for consideration this November seem to indicate strong support—hardly the tale of a people frightened by the possibility of slipping further into cesspool of idiocy. [link:

8 Comments Hide Comments
  • Disgusted Citizen

    Our “Educational” system is what is causing cognitive decline. Americans have become irredeemably stupid and brainwashed via “school” and listening to our disinformation “Media” to the point of having zero critical thinking skills. Smoking pot isn’t going to make it worse- hopefully it will ‘wake up” some folks.

    • Mike Smith

      I see your point and understand it but I’ve seen really good students come out of really bad schools because they were motivated to learn. I realize that some of the curriculum is useless, but if a student makes an A in Liberal Arts, that student in not in cognitive decline, merely exposed to more ideology than in a class such as Mathematics. And of course, the learning environment has a lot effect. I agree with you that it is the the media – movies, TV, news, video games, etc – and the excess use and viewing of such media, as well as a societal element molded from such media that has caused the cognitive decline and I fear it is by design rather than chance. Certainly, some of the greatest minds have been positively influenced by not only Cannabis but other ‘drugs’ as well. LSD has been known to bring a lot of things into perspective for a great many successful people and the creative benefits of Cannabis are undeniable….except by the US Government who appear to suffer the most from cognitive decline. The most intelligent, talented people I’ve ever met in the last 50 years have all been Cannabis users.

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  • David Yoseph Schreiber

    Temporary short term memory loss may be a benefit if you are getting relaxed after a hard day’s work.

  • La Oreja del Zumbador

    Cannabis Manifesto

    This manifesto was written to give hope of freedom to those who don’t have it.

    The criminalistic vision of cannabis use, i.e., the idea that someone
    who consumes cannabis is an addict and/or a criminal is scientifically
    absurd.

    No one can, or should, be considered a criminal just
    because their body cannot synthesize compounds that the human
    cannabinoid system must produce if the body is to be healthy.

    That’s like putting people in prison because their liver is not working well.

    Repression is the last resort of the incompetent, not to call them ignorant.

    The world changed when the Human Endocannabinoid System was discovered in 1988.

    Cannabis is a medicine. There’s no doubt about that any more.

    The human body produces the same cannabinoids that are proscribed by the laws of criminologists.

    It is absurd to put people in prison whose only crime is that their
    body is not able to synthesize the compounds needed to be in good
    health.

    In essence, the criminalists are torturers of those who are victims of the malfunctioning of their body.

    The many societies which persecute humans because of the inability of
    their bodies to synthesize the compounds they need to stay healthy…are
    ignorant and abusive…and torture innocent people.

    Someday we will all be fully free.

    Humans must be judged by what they do, not for what they consume.

    We need to restore the planting of freedom.

    The freedom to plant medicine bushes which produce the exact same
    “tissue messengers” which our bodies produce for our well-being.

    That’s a basic freedom which we will not relinquish.

    Our health has more priority than a government regulation, especially
    if it’s one so mistaken as the illegalization of an herb which has been
    used as medicine for over 6,000 years.

    They will have to kill me to take away my medicine.

    In the meantime, be smart, take as few risks as possible, cover as many
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    Stay safe…and stay medicated…or just have fun.
    Whatever your choice: live and be free.

    You will never regret the decision to live as freely as your body needs to live in order to be healthy.

  • RandallComment

    None of this is going to matter soon – medical mj will be legalized because of this:

    “Monsanto now appears to be developing genetically modified (GMO) forms
    of cannabis, with the intent of cornering the market with patented GMO
    seeds just as it did with GMO corn and GMO soybeans. For that, the plant
    would need to be legalized but still tightly enough controlled that it
    could be captured by big corporate interests.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/08/monsanto-bayer-and-the-push-for-corporate-cannabis/

    And George Soros rears his ugly head again.

    Won’t somebody please, PLEASE do something to stop this man from taking over the world. PLEASE.

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