We all know the way marijuana works in pieces of fiction. A single hit from a bong is enough to make a person giggle uncontrollably or lose all inhibition. Even the blockbuster action flick Transformers 2 showed people going from regular to loony in the span of a minute after eating a space cake. Whether hilarious or not, pop culture more often than not portrays potheads as lazy, unemployed and dumb.
The idea that smoking marijuana makes one stupid seemed to be accepted in real life as well, until Robert Tait looked at the long-term cognitive effects of marijuana. His study at the Australian National University involved almost 2000 subjects between the ages of 20 and 24. The study was performed over the course of 8 years and sought to test the scores in intelligence, working memory and verbal memory between smokers and non-smokers.
Tait discovered that there were no significant differences between the test groups, as long as he accounted for the generally higher male population. Smoking marijuana did not have a measurable impact on cognitive abilities.
Another study actually scientifically proves what real potheads already know; cannabis can be used as a creative fuel, increasing the powers of imagination. It allows what the study calls ‘hyper-priming’ which is the connection of distant concepts, a kind of mental leap.
The summary conclusion when putting these studies together: heavy use of marijuana does not take away IQ points. There are temporary side-effects but they don’t extend to the long term. Heavy alcohol use can actually be considered to have far more damaging effects.
You can read the full article here: Wired: Does Marijuana Make You Stupid?