Study finds no relationship between the use of cannabis and IQ

Published Jun 18, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
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Is there a relationship between cannabis and one's IQ score?  If you are a medical user of cannabis, is your IQ jeopardized? Have you perhaps compromised your IQ, for the anxiety you live with? Years and years of study have not been able to provide a definitive answer to the thought. However, cannabis science and the aid of studies today indicate that there is no relationship between the herb and our IQ score. Those who enjoy cannabis culture have lived with many different stereotypes attached to them. Pothead, stoner, or ganjapreneur are some of the most common names they’re called.

Seeing double

There appear to be conflicting answers when it comes to whether or not cannabis is affecting the cognitive function and IQ of teenage cannabis users. One long term study using human twins as subjects, where one twin used cannabis, and the other did not, has shown an interesting outcome. The results indicated that there were slight drops in the IQ score, which were correlated to those using cannabis.

However, a new study suggests that cannabis was not the cause at all. The study indicated that there might be a genetic predisposition for cognitive decline along with an increase in the likelihood that they would use cannabis anyway. Many ongoing studies are looking at the cannabis science of IQ and its relationship with cannabis use.

Adolescents are being studied the most, and the increasing number of studies indicates that a reduction in cognitive function and IQ is realized later in life.  A 2012 longitudinal study noticed a small but significant cognitive change in those who used cannabis at a young age. The study indicated that when cannabis consumers used more, they displayed a more substantial change in their cognitive functions.

New research today suggests that we may have been interpreting the results of these studies incorrectly, or that methodological limitation flawed the studies in a way that rendered them useless.  The correlation between cannabis consumption and effects like cognitive decline seems to show that the association is not casual. Ultimately the best and perhaps most accurate cannabis science study of how cannabis affects individual IQ scores is the twin study, as twins share the same DNA and are usually raised in the same home environment.

The new study was thought to be able to show definitive answers to the relationship between cannabis and IQ. However, the study failed to show that the twin who used cannabis had a lower IQ score than the abstaining twin.  It turns out that, generally, there is no difference in cognitive functioning despite the difference in the use of cannabis. As with many studies being conducted today in the cannabis science realm of life, the results may need to be taken with a grain of salt.

The authors of the study admitted to using a relatively small testing group. An added mix to the equation of cannabis studies that involve the perception of IQ on subjects was the reality that the pool of subjects was predominantly white. Finally, cannabis science research that was conducted in 2017 goes as far as to suggest that occasional cannabis smokers may actually be improving their IQ scores.

Though it came as a huge surprise to researchers, adolescents who used cannabis infrequently (two or fewer times per week) scored better on an IQ test than non-users when measuring things like social-cognitive, memory abilities, and executive control.

The relationship between cannabis and cognition is more than complex. We have much more to learn about cannabis science involving lower IQ scores and other cognitive attributes. However, it is clear that when cannabis science studies are tested against such controls as what happened with the twin study, the evidence is just not there to support it.

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