Data published through the Journal of Psychopharmacology has revealed that early cannabis use is not predictive of a lower IQ or poorer academic performance in 15-16 year olds. In fact, researchers found that teenagers who smoked cigarettes were more at risk for a lowered IQ than those who smoked cannabis.
2,235 adolescents were involved in the study. The investigators reported that “those who had used cannabis [greater than or equal to] 50 times did not differ from never-users on either IQ or educational performance.” Adjustments were made to consider outstanding circumstances on a case-by-case basis:
“These findings suggest that adolescent cannabis use is not associated with IQ or educational performance once adjustment is made for potential confounds, in particular, adolescent cigarette use. Modest cannabis use in teenagers may have less cognitive impact than epidemiological surveys of older cohorts have previously suggested,” they added.
As the researchers mention, studies in the past have attempted to correlate cannabis consumption with decreased brain activity. Researchers in one of the most prominent cases have actually revised their data to indicate that socioeconomic status was actually a better explanation for the decline in a subject’s IQ.
This will come as bad news for prohibitionists, who have often attempted to rely on the argument that cannabis legalization risks damaging the academic performance of our youth.