Smoking a bowl of sticky icky may not be as bad for your education as you might think. According to a recently published study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, cannabis may impair short-term judgment, but it does not lower IQ levels in teenagers.
Before you reach for a joint to fuel your creative spirits, it’s important to consider that smoking weed also doesn’t make you any smarter than you already are. Here’s what you need to know about the latest report on adolescent cannabis use and educational performance.
Survey Sample and Results
Scientists surveyed 2,235 teenagers from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children in the United Kingdom for the groundbreaking study. The following factors were taken into consideration to check for external influences:
- Cigarette and alcohol use
- Childhood mental-health symptoms
- Behavioral problems
- Educational performance
The results showed that respondents who smoked cannabis did not have lower IQ levels or education performance, compared to individuals who have never used the drug. In order to qualify as an individual who smokes weed, participants had to admit to have used marijuana at least 50 times. The report also uncovered that by the age of 15, over 24 percent of teenagers have tried the drug at least once.
“It’s hard to know what causes what- do kids do badly at school because they are smoking weed, or do they smoke weed because they’re doing badly? This study suggests it is not as simple as saying cannabis is the problem,” said Claire Mokrysz from the University College London.
Supporting the scientists in the study is the International Center for Science in Drug Policy (ISCDP). The group conducted a similar survey in 2012, but at the time concluded that smoking weed negatively affects IQ scores. After receiving mixed reviews, the author of the paper revised the report a year later, citing that socioeconomic status was the primary driver for low IQ levels, and not cannabis.
Tobacco Use Strikes Again
So if weed doesn’t affect teenage performance at school, then what does? Researchers suggest that tobacco could be the sneaky culprit. Since cigarette use was also tested in the study, the results highlighted that there is an undeniable link between the two. Survey respondents who had smoked cigarettes more than 100 times had lower IQs by an average of 3.2 points and lower educational scores by an average of 7.4 percent.
“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,” explained the researchers.
Disclaimer: We do not encourage any illegal consumption of cannabis