Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Opinion

March 7, 2014

Marijuana use lowers IQ

Dear Editor,

Don’t be misled by some media information that promotes the falsehood that marijuana use is harmless. Marijuana is a drug, and all drugs have risks and side effects.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says smoking marijuana lowers IQ when the habit is started during adolescence.

According to the study, “Heavy use of marijuana has been previously linked to neuropsychological impairment, particularly when use begins early in life.” The researchers found that “those individuals experienced declines in everyday cognitive function that were noticeable to close contacts. Persistent marijuana users also lost several IQ points on average between age 13 years and age 38 years.”

The study’s lead author, Madeline Meier, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate at Duke University, warns, “Marijuana is not harmless, particularly for adolescents.”

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that smoking marijuana may even increase your risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders.

According to the study’s senior author, Asaf Keller, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “Previous research has shown that children who started using marijuana before the age of 16 are at greater risk of permanent cognitive deficits, and have a higher incidence of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.”

Another scientist involved with the study, Sylvina Mullins Raver, a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Neuroscience in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, adds, “Adolescence is the critical period during which marijuana use can be damaging.”

Cultural acceptance and legislative movements don’t change the risks and possibly permanent brain side effects.

Christopher Ault, D.C.,

Batesville

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