Stoner News; Smoking Before Age 18 May Cause IQ Decrease
Marijuana is probably the most useful plant on this earth. It has medical and industrial value and can help almost every single person to lead a happier, healthier life. However, research is beginning to show that unmonitored marijuana use as adolescents can lower a person’s IQ later in life. Considering how fragile the brain can be while in this stage of development, this statement may be somewhat valid and teens should be careful about their intake of marijuana.
A study released in 2012, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy os Sciences, studied more than 1000 New Zealand teenagers who began regularly smoking cannabis before age 18. These smokers shows an eight-point drop in IQ between age 13 and 38, which turns out to be a considerable decline. Since the average IQ is 100 points, a drop of eight points would mean a fall from the 50th percentile to the 29th in terms of how smart that person is. A decrease from 50% to 29% is considerable.
The reason that growing minds, specifically those in adolescence, are so susceptible to this oddly negative effects of marijuana is because of a chemical called myelin. This is thought to be somewhat of an insulation for the cells present in the brain. Myelin also helps speed brain signals along. Since the frontal lobe doesn’t finish it’s myelination until around age 25. Before age 18, the brain is at it’s most susceptible state, where the brain passages and cells are minimally coated in this necessary chemical.
Comparing this study to others is nearly impossible because this is the only study that has established a baseline IQ before the subjects started smoking marijuana. The base IQ is key to a study like this, as the results wouldn’t really change if the study began after the user had already started smoking. Cannabis is a huge benefit. But much like alcohol, sticking an age limit on it makes sense. The development of the brain is crucial to the rest of your life so holding off on regular cannabis smoking until age 18 really isn’t that bad. Don’t be the spacey stoner stereotype!