Monday, April 15, 2024

Data Weighs In On If Marijuana Makes You Dumb

Myths prevail, but science and data help lead the way to the truth. And it looks like marijuana is emerging from the sterotype

There is list of movies showing marijuana addled anti-heros who the audience loves. We’ve seen the moronic marijuana toker in countless movies and sitcoms. But is it fair or true? Data weighs in on if marijuana makes you dumb.

There must be some truth to it, right? Well, the reality is reputable studies suggest little likelihood of a connections between cannabis consumption and decreased IQ.

In fact, a pair of studies published in 2016 reveals marijuana has little long-term effect on learning and memory. Further, the studies suggest any cannabis-related cognitive damage that does occur is reversible.

Even the most ardent defender of cannabis use will cop to the fact getting high plays tricks on your brain. This isn’t any different than alcohol. We’ve all misplaced our car keys or struggled to find the correct word after a couple of cocktails or an edible.

According to Dr. Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the University of Albany, “marijuana seems to affect a particular kind of intelligence, like short term retention of vocabulary words and other information you might learn in school.”

So, yes, your brain is a bit jumbled if you consume a heavy dose of THC. But what about the long-term impact?  The two reports, one from Britain and the other in the U.S., reached the identical conclusion: It seems there is no evidence adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligence.

Despite the research, Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, believes the jury is still out. She points to studies comparing brain scans of teenagers who use marijuana to those who don’t. The scans show thinner, less dense connections between lobes among the cannabis users.

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“You could expect it will decrease your capacity to memorize things and to learn them which is necessary to you to actually further develop your cognitive abilities,” she said.

According to Live Science:

“Brain-scan studies in humans suggest marijuana may be linked to anatomical brain changes, such as shrinking of the amygdala, a brain region processes emotion, reward and fear. In some people with genetic vulnerability, such brain changes might be enough to tip someone into schizophrenia, which is more common in people who have used marijuana. However, the genes in question may lead people to smoke more pot and to be more prone to schizophrenia, rather than directly causing the link between pot and psychosis.”

RELATED: Science Explains How Marijuana Inspires Awe 

Even Volkow concedes there’s little proof tmarijuana causes poor brain connections.

NIDA is supporting a study which will map the effects of marijuana on brain development. The Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study (ABCD) will follow 10,000 9- to 10- year-olds through early adulthood, using neuroimaging to map changes in the brain.

The bottom line is there’s not much evidence of permanent harm to the brain. But you probably forget where you left your car keys.

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