January 16, 2016
Cannabis, a wonderful food-medicine, has been demonized for decades. No plant has ever been fraught with such extreme controversy. Police raids are conducted to seize and burn this plant and to lock growers away. Innocent people are shot and killed in their own homes because of the war on this plant.
Fraudulent and incomplete studies have attempted to darken people’s perspectives about this plant, but those who know it best, who have firsthand experience with it, understand that it’s harmless and actually healing. Cannabis use doesn’t lower a person’s IQ, as suggested by a widely publicized 2012 New Zealand study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A separate review of that data, published in the same journal, proved that IQ changes were the result of socioeconomic differences and not cannabis use.
In fact, the demonized plant is actually beneficial for connecting the nervous system of the body with the immune system, helping the two systems communicate through the suppressed endocannabinoid receptors in the human body.
Marijuana myths going up in smoke
Cannabis isn’t making people stupid. New data published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology is making the myths surrounding cannabis use go up in smoke.
A group of 2,235 participants was first given the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children 3rd Edition at an individual clinic session when they were eight years old. When they turned 15, adolescents were administered the Vocabulary and Matrix Reasoning subsections of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. At this point, the adolescents provided cumulative lifetime cannabis use data by reporting their cannabis use on a scale of, ‘never’, ‘less than 5 times’, ‘5–19 times’, ’20–49 times’, ’50–99 times’ and ‘100 times or more’. They also reported their cigarette and alcohol use on the same scale. At age 16, the adolescents’ educational performance was measured using Key Stage 4 national testing.
On the surface of the study results, it seemed that cannabis use caused lower educational performance. “Increasing cumulative cannabis use correlated with poorer educational performance at the age of 16 (p<0.001). Cannabis use of over 50 times predicted an average score of 11.6 percentage points lower than never-users.”
However, once the confounding factor of cigarette use was factored in, it suddenly became clear why educational performance fell.
The study finds, “Cumulative cigarette use was the key attenuator of the association between cumulative cannabis use and both IQ … and educational performance. Further, cumulative cigarette use remained negatively associated with both outcomes in the fully adjusted models. Those who had used cigarettes >100 times were estimated to have an age 15 adjusted IQ 3.2 points lower … and an adjusted educational score 7.4 percentage points lower … than never-users of cigarettes.”
“[T]hose who had used cannabis [greater than or equal to] 50 times did not differ from never-users on either IQ or educational performance,” the study concludes, pointing out that cigarette use is the main culprit behind lowered IQs and poorer academic performance.