Thanks to Hollywood movies that depict people who smoke marijuana as dumb and idiotic, a lot of people mistakenly think that smoking cannabis makes you stupid.
Now a team of researchers have found that imbibing marijuana does not lower IQ level in teenagers, particularly those who use it between the ages of 12 and 18. The new study uses a previous research conducted by a team from Arizona State University that studied close to 2,000 twins born between 1994 and 1995 in Wales and England. The twins’ intelligence levels were assessed at three different points: at age 5, 12, and then at 18.
Using data from that study, researcher Ian Hamilton and his team looked at the IQ levels of the subjects and found that marijuana use does not adversely affect IQ. Hamilton says that this debunks age-old myths about marijuana and intelligence, adding that it shows no harmful effects caused by marijuana on the brain.
Hamilton, however, showed that more youths with lower IQ are more prone to abuse marijuana. The research team looked into the IQs of these youngsters before they started using marijuana and it showed that the decline in IQ was due to other factors and not marijuana.
Simply put, if a teenage has low IQ, it could be because of a lot of factors and marijuana is not one of them.
But that is not all. Hamilton’s study has also debunked an earlier study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh that showed that teenagers who use marijuana have a greater risk of depression and can do poorly in school. With no effects on the development of IQ, this means that the University of Pittsburgh study might have some flaws in that it measured educational achievements and not IQ per se.
This is not the only marijuana myth out there. And it is time we debunk them
Using pot would lead you to use other more serious and more addictive drugs.
Marijuana has been called as the gateway drug that would eventually make you feel the need to try and get addicted to heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, among other dangerous drugs. Not so, says a study conducted by Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, associate professors of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Van Gundy and Rebellon call the claim that marijuana is a gateway drug “overblown.”
Using marijuana can drive you crazy.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse clarifies that there is a link between cannabis and a variety of psychological disorders such as anxiety, personality disturbances, and depression, but saying that marijuana causes these psychological problems is not accurate.
Marijuana causes lung cancer. A team from UCLA conducted a study in 2006 and even though the researchers expected a correlation between marijuana and lung cancer, they found no link between these two.
Pot is not addictive.
Another myth that many people believe in is that weed is not addictive. To be clear, marijuana is not physically addictive, but it might be psychologically. For some people, it might be difficult to stop using marijuana especially when they have been using it for a long time.
Marijuana damages your immune system.
Studies have shown that marijuana affects immune cells in animals negatively, but so far, there have been no studies of this nature conducted on human subjects. So while marijuana might be bad for the immune systems of animals, it is not yet known whether it has the same effect on humans.
The federal prohibition on marijuana is going to be more lax.
In some states, such as Colorado and Washington, where marijuana use is legal, you still have to be careful not to bring weed inside national parks and other areas that are under federal care. This is because of the federal prohibition on marijuana, wherein it is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. That classification puts it in the same league as heroin.