In case there was still any doubt about it, science says teen weed smoking does not lower IQ. In recent years, there has been a multitude of studies about this matter. The studies have been consistent in their results and disprove the popular myth that smoking weed in your teens lowers your IQ.
The Myths Vs. The Facts
We all know the common myths about weed. One of the most popular ones is that consuming cannabis kills your brain cells. Furthermore, smoking weed during adolescence stunts your neurological development and lowers your IQ. In simpler terms, smoking weed makes you stupid.
That myth has been used by parents for generations as a tactic to sway their teenagers from the grips of peer pressure and abstain from smoking weed. Some parents claim to be cool about it and tell them that smoking pot is okay when you’re an adult. Just not when your brain is still developing.
Not to criticize anyone’s parenting style, but the notion that adolescent cannabis use hinders brain development is factually incorrect. Two studies in the past year and a half demonstrate this.
In 2016 and 2017, two separate studies were published. The studies’ goal was to examine the relationship between cannabis use in adolescence, IQ, and academic performance. In the 2016 study, 2,235 teenagers were surveyed and given a series of tests to assess their intelligence and academic performance. The teenagers who smoked weed fifty times or more did not show any significant difference than their peers who did not smoke weed. They did find, however, differences between students who smoked cigarettes and students who did not smoke cigarettes.
The 2017 study was much more involved. The researchers studied 1,989 twins from childhood to age 18. To fully assess the participants, the researchers tested and recorded their IQs at age 5, age 12, and age 18. At age 18, their executive functions were also assessed. Their findings were quite interesting. The participants who smoked cannabis during their teenage years had a lower IQ than those who did not. However, those participants had a lower IQ at ages 5 and 12.
Furthermore, in twin pairs where one twin smoked more frequently than the other, both twins scored similarly on most of the assessments. The researchers concluded that cannabis use did not cause a significant decline in IQ, and other factors, like family and environment, had a much larger impact on IQ.
Final Hit: Science Says Teen Weed Smoking Does Not Lower IQ
Now that we have peer-reviewed scientific studies, anti-weed activists need to stop perpetuating the myth that cannabis makes people unintelligent. The myth that it does is not backed up by anything other than anecdotes and misinformation. However, we need to be smart about how we cite these studies. Science says teen weed smoking does not lower IQ, but that doesn’t mean that teenagers should be smoking all day, every day, everywhere. In order to keep open communication with teenagers, we need to inform them of the risks associated with cannabis. Specifically the legal risks. If a teen lives in an area where smoking weed is illegal, they need to be careful to not get arrested or in trouble with their school. Weed doesn’t lower your IQ, but you still need to be smart about it.