Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BEST OF 2014: Weed Makes You Dumb

"Why ... I'm just lookin' for a little slap n' pickle"
I posted a couple times about marijuana last year, as it was the year of the legalized weed.  Colorado and Washington's laws were in effect and Oregon voted to add themselves to the list of states that defy federal law regarding marijuana.  The long-term effects of this are difficult to be certain about, but its very likely going to be a bad thing overall -- and a bad thing that can never be reversed.

This piece got a lot of attention weeks after I posted it originally, and its about a study that showed brain damage and loss of mental acuity resulting from smoking pot in one's teens.  I've long known that it makes you stupid, having seen it over and over again in life, but a scientific and medical study was useful to help make the point.  An excerpt:
Which brings me to a study that was recently released by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in the USA.  Reported in the New England Journal of Medicine for the National Institute of Health, the report claims that use of marijuana in teenage years causes a permanent loss of IQ.  It is estimated that 6.5% of high school seniors use marijuana nearly every day (and that number is probably higher, as it is illegal and self reporting will be diminished by that fact).  After a long-term study covering 38 years, the researchers concluded:
The scientists focused on marijuana’s harmful effects on teens, an age group in which the brain rapidly develops, which is one factor that could help explain increased risks from marijuana use in this population. Research suggests that marijuana impairs critical thinking and memory functions during use and that these deficits persist for days after using. In addition, a long-term study showed that regular marijuana use in the early teen years lowers IQ into adulthood, even if users stopped smoking marijuana as adults.
The research, part of the "Dunedin Study" (no relation to Aragorn) examined over 1000 people starting in 1972 and watched their lives, testing them regularly to see how their brains and bodies were, examining psychology and behavior, and so on.  And they discovered that if you smoke weed as a teenager, you are dumber as a result.

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