Washington legalized marijuana in 2012 largely because of the low level of harm produced by pot, especially in relation to alcohol and legal prescription drugs. Since then, a handful of studies have been release claiming to link heavy marijuana use in teenagers with lower performance on IQ tests.
Not so fast, say British scientists.The Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog reveals a study involving over 2,600 teens in the United Kingdom that showed no link between casual pot use and decreased academic performance once the researchers screened out the related higher alcohol use and other risky behaviors.
These results were produced as part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, an ambitious research project that tracked the health of kids born in 1991 and 1992, also known as "The Children of the 90's." The study did find a small correlation between heavy marijuana use and reduce performance on exams around age 16. However, it could not determine whether the lower test scores were caused by pot usage or by other so-called "high-risk" behaviors which are often associated with kids who smoke marijuana (such as consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs).
Some of the scientists wondered whether any shortcomings in academic performance were caused by cannabis use, or if these types of test scores were simply seen in kids who happened to smoke pot and engage in other high-risk behaviors. Bottom line: there is no definitive link established (yet) between occasional teen pot use and any type of decline in cognition. These findings show yet again that concerns about any potential negative effects of marijuana consumption are unfounded.
Even if there were, the fact that pot use is illegal for Washington residents under 21 should render those worries moot.