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Monday, August 27, 2012

Study: Smoking Acres of Weed as a Kid Makes You Dumb, Basically Forever

Posted by on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Well this explains something about The Stranger newsroom:

Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study suggests.

The researchers didn't find the same IQ dip for people who became frequent users of pot after 18. Although experts said the new findings are not definitive, they do fit in with earlier signs that the drug is especially harmful to the developing brain.

The study is being pushed hard by a group named—move over, all other cliches—"But What About the Children." I gotta admit, for an organization with a name that is literally an anti-drug talking point, they seem weirdly resigned to pot's eventual legality. Their slogan is, "Demand that policymakers who legalize marijuana guarantee the drug will not be marketed to children, like alcohol and tobacco are." Seems fair.

Funding for the study itself and But What About the Children's parent organization, National Families in Action, came in part by the federal government's National Institute on Drug Abuse... which is more or less in the business of warning people about the dangers of drugs. All that said, don't do drugs, kids. Look what happened to us.


Comments (27) RSS

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Sargon Bighorn 1
Can teen IQs drop ANY further? Hey folks, A High School is a happy school. Leave them kids alone.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on August 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM · Report this
Dumb, fat, and sleepy? I'd prefer that to the dumb, fat, and violent culture currently in place.
Posted by mubhappy on August 27, 2012 at 7:03 PM · Report this
How are eventually legal sellers supposed to market to stoners without also marketing to children?
Posted by What did you say? on August 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM · Report this
And this is surprising to whom, exactly?
Ok, haha, now seriously...we all know that there was a lot of backlash against the ridiculously inflated scare tactics of the '80s and that's really poisoned the well of reasonable discourse over marijuana, but for fuck's sake people, it is a drug and it has effects on you. If it didn't have an effect on you, then why would you go to the trouble of smoking it? Sure, you like that effect, but then you have to understand that there might also be effects that you won't like as much. The stoner hysterics who spew the stoney baloney "it's a harmless natural herb" bullshit are just as bad as the Reefer Madness crowd. I really do hope that I-502 passes and they start regulating the shit out of pot to the point where it's just like alcohol. Easy enough to get if you're old enough, and the people buying it are fully aware of what they're getting into. Everyone knows that if you drink too much beer that eventually you're going to get a beer gut. It would be nice if there was the same level of common knowledge about the side effects of pot, like lower IQ, and the rest. It doesn't mean that you should never touch it, but that you know what you're getting into if you do.
Posted by SPG on August 27, 2012 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Dude, NIDA is in the business of funding scientists to investigate how addiction works and how it might be broken. They're not bad guys.
Posted by STJA on August 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM · Report this
treacle 6
This is pretty obvious, but it's good to have evidence. My condolences to the people who chose to smoke themselves dumb young. Wait, what are we talking about.. .?
Posted by treacle on August 27, 2012 at 8:03 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 7
You said butt. Heh. Heh heh.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on August 27, 2012 at 8:26 PM · Report this

I have been finding these studies over and over again and the answer from the drug addicts is always "oh, but that study was funding by People for Coal Plants" etc etc

I simply ask the question. Have you ever heard of a substance of pleasure, a drug, alcohol, sex event, in which there was no risk, liability or potential downside.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 27, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
Baconcat 9
After lots of contemplation I've come to be against this study since it hurts 18-20 year olds who aren't doing anything wrong. It's making them less free! It's criminalizing their freedom!
Posted by Baconcat on August 27, 2012 at 8:40 PM · Report this
This isn't really news. Any mind altering substance use in adolescence can cause developmental issues. I don't think anyone has ever argued that point. Pot isn't 100% harmless for adults, either, but it is a far cry better than the rest of the shit people put in their bodies every day; cigarettes, alcohol, Rx opiates, et al...

As far as "what about the children?!?!?!?" the answer is simple. Be a better fucking parent. Talk openly and honestly with your teens about drug use, or have someone else they respect talk to them about it. My 16 year old niece and I have had many conversations about when it's appropriate to experiment with pot, sex and booze, and she's a super chill kid who abstains because it's just not the right time in her life for it. I realize this doesn't work for everyone, but it's a hell of a lot better than demonizing (and criminalizing) it for everyone else.
Posted by no catchy name on August 27, 2012 at 8:45 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 11
i don't understand. i thought i would get smart if i quitted.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 27, 2012 at 8:49 PM · Report this
schmacky 12
Has anybody done a similar study on the long-term effects of alcohol abuse on the teenage brain?
Posted by schmacky on August 27, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this

Gotta quibble with you a little. Yes NIDA is in the business of funding scientists and yes most of those scientists (and folks working at NIDA) are not bad guys. At the same time, where funding goes, who gets funded, and what gets funded can become incredibly politicized.

For example: under Clinton research examining syringe exchange and other harm reduction programs was encouraged and funded. A little over a year into Bush, grants to NIDA and NIH (NIDA"s parent) that contained the phrase "harm reduction" never made it out of initial review. Researchers who had never been turned down for funding found their funding disappearing over night. This continued for the entire Bush administration.

I'm not saying that those who got funded were bad, just that folks can exert enormous control over what is even up for debate by controlling the research spigot.
Posted by gnossos on August 27, 2012 at 9:15 PM · Report this
Goldy 14
Well, it explains three quarters of The Stranger newsroom.
Posted by Goldy on August 27, 2012 at 9:20 PM · Report this
brandon 15
Could somebody debunk IQ as a measurement of intelligence for me? I got a hot date tonight.
Posted by brandon on August 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM · Report this
I can testify to this personally. I smoked pretty regularly from 16 up 'til about age 30. Nothing forced me to, but for one or another reason, I did end up stopping. Didn't notice anything particular for a couple of years, but a few years down the road, I did notice an improvement in general acuity, social skills, etc. (I mean, they're still not much to brag about, but just imagine how bad they used to be!)

Current thinking on the subject of brain development is that you're still developing significantly to around age 25. There's definitely something about pot that makes that development more difficult. Of course, different people develop at different rates. Some folks are already 95% of where they're going to get by the time they're 16. The brightest kid in my high school seemed to just thrive on pot. Ivy League scholarship, graduate degrees, post-doc work at Cornell and a notable international science-type person today. Me, of course, not so much.

But, in my case, I think some development resumed after I stopped, so I don't think whatever stunting effect it has is permanent. It takes a while, yes, but then it takes a while to grow the thing even when you're not getting high. I think the later in life you start smoking regularly, the less impairment is even possible. Pot doesn't physically damage your brain, if you already have one.

I'd like to see pot legalized, but I'd like to see a minimum age something above 21. By the way, I favor putting the drinking age back down to 18, if not lower. As Jimmy Breslin once opined in his column, it's positively inhuman to send young men and women into the voting booths without even the possibility of a bracing drink beforehand.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on August 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 17
I don't feel like reading. Could someone else make sure they're sure the causation is correct here? No offense to people who smoked a whole bunch as kids, but is it possible those people were stupid to begin with? That maybe the frustration of being an idiot child drove some kids into the comforting arms of smoke?
Posted by MacCrocodile on August 27, 2012 at 11:04 PM · Report this
Want to see how smoking pot while young fucks you up just read any comment thread on slog about I-502.
Posted by j2patter on August 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 19
yeah and hard core alcoholics have little fuzzy white dots on brain MRIs. Abuse is abuse.
Posted by Lew Siffer on August 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM · Report this
Next we're going to hear that driving under the influence of cannabis is dangerous.
Posted by madcap on August 28, 2012 at 12:06 AM · Report this
JensR 21
Ok this is a bit weird. This study is, according to reports (BBC… ), made in New Zeeland - so the support for it is not funded by the US federal government. Or is this two different studies, on the exact same subject? Or is every participant funded by his or her respective government (the researchers are an international collaboration)?
Posted by JensR on August 28, 2012 at 2:14 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 22
@12 You could probably get the desired info by looking up long term studies of Texas High School Football players. There is a very strong correlation there.
Posted by Sir Vic on August 28, 2012 at 7:02 AM · Report this
NotSpicoli 23
"Demand that policymakers who legalize marijuana guarantee the drug will not be marketed to children, like alcohol and tobacco are." Seems fair.

And this is precisely the kind of safeguards that are provided by I-502. One of the key features of I-502 is implementing regulations and funding programs aimed at preventing teen substance use. The safeguards draw on the lessons learned from effective youth prevention strategies for the regulated and taxed substances, alcohol and tobacco .

One of I-502's sponsors, Dr. Roger Roffman is a retired emeritus professor at the University of Washington and a chemical dependency expert. Along with another UW professor and I-502 sponsor, Dr, Bob Wood, they have authored the brochure, "What about kids? Questions Parents Ask About Marijuana Legalization," which is available at…
Posted by NotSpicoli on August 28, 2012 at 7:02 AM · Report this
I didn't know Dan Savage was a pot head
Posted by jeffy on August 28, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 25
When it comes to drugs, the government has lost all credibility. They won't even consider the dire consequences of alcohol because the lobby shuts them up.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on August 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
I'm very glad this study has come out. Even thought this is common knowledge, this study makes it harder to ignore. My biggest regret in life is becoming a pot head in my mid to late teens. My short term memory is atrocious, and I suspect the daily smoking as a teen has played a major role in this.

I think if the brain damage effects were pointed out more in anti smoking campaigns it could reach people like my teenage self.
Posted by former stoner on August 29, 2012 at 12:55 AM · Report this
You guys are fucking retarded for making a vast assumption over a few million people based off some experiment that you haven't even read the report for so you don't even know how valid the experiment, and this is a psychology experiment aka a social science experiment with no exact facts. If any of you even knew anything about the I.Q test then you would know that it was created to identify mentally challenged individuals, the test starts to get really inaccurate around 140 not to say it's extremely accurate any where considering on any given day you are within one deviation of your I.Q. By the way I've been a daily cannabis consumer since I was 13, I just turned 19 and I'm in my first year of college however I am doing my upper division classes already ( I'm a year and a half ahead of myself which leaves me to get my BS in Physics and Mathematics in just three years of college.) Even in high school I've always been bit brighter then just about all my peers, I've had many teachers recognize me for my intelligence on multiple occasions, and you guys think smoking weed makes you dumb?
Posted by Quanta on February 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this

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