Pot Use in Teen Years May Lower IQ, Study Shows
Most teenagers are under the impression that using marijuana is not as bad as using other illegal drugs. While it may be deemed permissible in some locations, marijuana is still illegal nearly everywhere and the physical and mental ramifications for using regularly might be greater than they expected.
Studies now show that the continued use of marijuana by people in their preteen and teenage years can cause a number of thought ability damages. These include damaging the memory, the intelligence level and reducing greatly their attention span.
A New Zealand study of more than 1,000 adults participating since the birth of the study showed some dramatic information. The study included an IQ test for each of the participants at various ages including age 7 years, 9 years, 11 years, 13 years and 38 years.
The IQ levels at the age of 13 years were compared to the results of IQ tests of the same participants at age 38 years. It is assumed that most participants at age 13 years had not yet been introduced to marijuana. The comparison between these ages showed that the participants’ IQ had dropped by an average of 8 points from the age of 13 years to the age of 38 years.
In addition to the decrease in IQ levels, the participants seem to be experiencing a memory loss issue as well as an attention span issue. These results could not be explained away by any other drug use, difference in education or even traumatic events in their lives.v
The only similarity was marijuana use in the early years of being a teenager. The results of the participants that had used marijuana were also compared to individuals in the study that had not participated in the use of marijuana.
It is believed that this is a critical time for the human brain and that due in part to adolescence, the brain is especially vulnerable to the neuro-toxic compounds in marijuana. The danger to the growing and maturing brain of a teenager is greatest because it is so open to change.
Family members of the study participants were questioned as well to see if the participants showed any signs of memory dysfunction, social dysfunction or attention span difficulties. This information was used to add to the study results.
Findings Could Change Health Policies
These study results lend to the school of thinking that long term users of marijuana gradually lose their ability to function and drive to improve making them more likely to fail at those things they might have been in line to achieve in their future. This fact can of course have some significant ramifications relating to the various health policies regarding the use of marijuana. Additionally, it is likely to spawn new guidelines for youth education related to the use of marijuana.
Some organizations such as Narconon East U.S. are pleading for improved educational components for youth in hopes that if they understand more about the effects of the drug and the possibility that they could slowly lose their ability to remember things, make important decisions and think clearly they will stop or never start, using marijuana. This can be complicated because of the medical uses for the drug and the inherent view that marijuana is virtually harmless if used for recreational purposes.
These study results change the original perspective that the use of marijuana is without risk and that it is a lesser serious offense or choice than using other types of illegal drugs. The results are fairly clear and will likely spawn future studies to confirm the findings of the original study completed.
The Bottom Line
Marijuana is often looked upon as being a drug that is really not all that harmful. In fact, in this day and age many people are pushing for legislation that will allow it to be sold legally throughout the United States. The problem with marijuana is that we are still trying to understand how it impacts people, and not all of the effects are as good as people have come to believe.
If you or someone you love is dealing with a substance abuse problem involving marijuana, you must know that there is help and support out there for you to take advantage of. Reach out and ask for help from a substance abuse treatment facility in your area, and you will find the medical help and emotional support required to walk someone with an addiction down the road to recovery from end to end.