Pot smokers of the world, rejoice! Science has refuted one the most persistent myths about marijuana. As of now, you can tell everyone you know that actually, marijuana does not affect your intelligence. Or more accurately, that marijuana usage has no discernible effect on a person's IQ. You know science; they like their fancy words.
The study comes out of the University of London, and examined more than 2,500 kids born in Bristol in the early 1990s. The researchers measured the children's IQ scores at the age of eight, and then again at age 15. Upon analyzing the scores, they found that participants' reported marijuana usage had no statistical impact whatsoever on their IQ, even after controlling other factors such as use of alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or maternal education. This was true even among participants classified as "heavy users."
The study did find that heavy marijuana users were more likely to see their educational performance suffer, which is about to be expected. Still, there's a big difference between how well a person does in school and their intelligence, and it seems that pot only has the power to affect the former.
So I guess stoners just look stupid rather than actually being stupid.
Now, before anyone gets too excited, there are other studies which suggest marijuana can have negative mental effects, including one from a couple of months ago that suggests pot might actually change the way your brain operates, even changing the neural connections in such a way that it encourages people to smoke more weed. Which can be bad for obvious reasons if your desire to light up starts messing with all the other aspects of your life.
Overall, there is still a lot we don't know about marijuana and its effects. The fact that it's been illegal for so long has made it tricky for researchers to study. But now that weed is becoming legal in more places, we'll probably be seeing a lot of new research.
Still, it seems that we can say with some confidence that when it comes to one of the biggest stereotypes about stoners — that pot makes you stupid — science says we're all in the clear.
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