Marijuana users have long touted the benefits of their mind-altering drug of choice, but a new study from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences in the University of Texas at Dallas suggests that the “altering” part has nothing to do with adding points to the IQ.
In fact, subjects who used marijuana frequently reported IQ scores that were, on average, five points lower than those who did not use the drug or used it very little.
“Frequently,” in the study, was defined as “adults who have smoked weed at least four times a week,” Yahoo! reports.
While the test did not control for other factors that may have contributed to the loss in IQ points, it is pretty telling that the findings were consistent across the board.
Still, some were critical of the study as a whole.
Take Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
“Investigators in this study failed to assess whether any of these differences are positively associated with any measurable adverse performance outcomes, such as cognitive [mental] performance or quality of life.”
Frequent marijuana users also showed to have less brain volume in the orbitofrontal cortex, though they did have one thing to celebrate in the study.
The test, which included 48 users and 62 non-users, found that users had changes in connectivity that were greater than nonusers, which “may be considered a way of compensating for the reduction in volume,” noted Dr. Francesca Filbey, who added that it may explain “why chronic users appear to be doing fine, even though an important region of their brain is smaller in terms of volume.”
Still, even though this increased connectivity is present, the study authors warn marijuana users not to get too carried away with the finding.
These blossoming connections that are present during the first few years of regular use eventually go away, and the researchers note there was “a significant drop-off in new brain links after about six years of regular use,” the Yahoo! report adds.
While the reduced brain volume is something corroborated in other studies, supporters of legal marijuana note that you can’t actually point to a study that kills brain cells.
Still, one study on animals did confirm exposure to the drug had that effect.
What do you think, readers? Do frequent marijuana users have cause for concern from this study, and do you believe that pot smokers are less intelligent than non-pot smokers?