Is marijuana smoking a factor in long-term intelligence?

Marijuana or “weed” has become the drug of choice for many people. Smoking weed might be the one illegal drug that is in fact boasted about by celebrities, musicians, writers, and more. The reaction to someone smoking, talking about, or offering you weed, I can assure you is much different than if they were doing the same with different mind altering drugs. In fact, the Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in 2014 that Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. The logic I hear often from weed smokers is that marijuana is a harmless drug, and that “no one has ever died from smoking too much.” This could explain why it is so popular. However, Is it really true that a drug that affects the brain in the way that weed does has no adverse effects?

The National Institute on drug abuse, or NIH examined many angles of this issue, but to no clear conclusion. This source desribes a study that was conducted to see the affect of marijuana use on rats. It was found that THC exposure in rats causes cognitive issues in the future of the rats life. If this study is any sign, it would mean that smoking weed has long term effects on your life. However, this study is not a sign at all.

What follows this animal testing is a series of conflicting studies which leave this question in the air. A study was conducted referred to as the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study examined the risk of marijuana use in adolescence that followed 3385 participants between the ages of 18 and 30 for 25 years. The study saw that current users of marijuana was associated with lower verbal memory, and processing speed. Furthermore, after removing the current users from the pool, only a lower verbal memory was reported, and no other affect was seen in participants. The significance of the lower verbal memory was only reported for every 5 years of use before stopping which even further decreases the validity of the results.

Other studies, as reported by the NIH in another anaysis found that there was no link between marijuana use and IQ but that once again, verbal memory was affected. It seems that the effects are existent, but not substantial, nonetheless smoking weed can affect your future. I would say that with the many conflicting viewpoints, its up to the user to determine if they’re willing to sacrifice a decrease in verbal memory in exchange for a good time.


3 thoughts on “Is marijuana smoking a factor in long-term intelligence?

  1. Kate Billings

    I agree with you when you talk about how people who smoke marijuana seem to always say, “no ones ever died from it” a lot. I have brought up to people that I know that smoke weed pretty often that there must be some negative effects from it but they disagree. You mentioned that verbal memory was affected by the smoking which I had never heard before. Compared to the extremely harmful effects of smoking cigarettes I would say smoking weed is pretty harmless. There obviously are some negative effects of smoking weed but if I were a weed smoker I would not be worried about them in companion to other bad habits people have.

  2. Nicholas E Schneider

    As you mentioned in your post, marijuana is currently the most widely used illicit drug in America. Yes, there are undoubtedly many users of marijuana who could care less about the side effects that smoking could potentially cause (both immediate and long-term) . However, based on how many Americans from all backgrounds, socioeconomic classes and age groups smoke marijuana, it is clear that the way the drug is perceived in the U.S. is changing. Throughout the 1900’s marijuana was considered by many Americans to be just as dangerous as other “Schedule One” drugs, but with increased studies and advancements in research and science, marijuana legalization is supported by more citizens now than ever before. Personally, I understand that a lack of knowledge on marijuana’s extensive long-term effects is concerning, but I feel that the benefits of lifting our weed prohibition far outweigh the drawbacks. $42 Million is spent annually on the war on marijuana; should the drug be legalized, America could not only save a drastic amount of money but could also generate an enormous profit through the legal sale and tax of pot. In addition, the medicinal powers of marijuana have the ability to help and provide relief for Americans suffering from a wide range of conditions and diseases, including cancer, epilepsy, and Crohn’s. Because of these factors in addition to others, marijuana legalization is what’s best for America.

  3. Sarah Tarczewski

    I appreciate the fact that you mentioned that the jury is still largely out on the science of marijuana. Although there could be detrimental effects on one’s health, I think it’s very important to highlight the benefits of marijuana legalization in America. First of all, the drug does a lot of good – especially considering the various illnesses it does well to lessen the symptoms of (link below includes an example of this) and second of all, legalization of marijuana in America would allow for more studies like these to determine the truth behind both the short and long terms effects of the drug (as well as make money for the country and lower the prison population!)

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