Latest Media Buzz Regarding Pot’s Potential Impact On IQ Misses The Bigger Issue

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 30, 2012

    The mainstream press has been abuzz in recent days regarding the findings of a recent study suggesting that early-onset, persistent cannabis exposure by those under age 18 could potentially pose adverse effects on intelligence quotient.

    Yet, absent from the media’s discussion of the study — a discussion that has even included some fairly critical reviews of the study’s methodology (See here and here for just two examples.) — is any talk of the role that marijuana prohibition plays in inadvertently steering young people toward cannabis, an issue I address in depth in a column published today and excerpted below:

    Pot & IQ: A Flawed Debate
    via hightimes.com

    [excerpt] Even if one is to accept the study’s findings at face value, it’s hard to see how concerns regarding the potential impact of cannabis on the developing adolescent brain are any way a persuasive argument in support of present day marijuana prohibition. After all, virtually no one wants kids as young as 12 or 13 years of age consuming a mood-altering substance like cannabis. Yet, under cannabis criminalization – a policy that prohibits its use for people of all ages and compels all consumers to acquire the product on the black market instead of from licensed businesses – teens are more likely to have easy access to pot, not less.

    … Specifically, a June 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control reported that more teens are smoking pot than cigarettes.

    Not so coincidentally, teens’ declining use of cigarettes has run parallel to increased state and federal efforts to penalize those licensed businesses that improperly sell to minors and to educate the public about the health risks associated with tobacco. Ditto for booze.

    In short, it’s legalization, regulation, and public education – coupled with the imposition and enforcement of appropriate age restrictions – that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children and reduces the likelihood of their abuse.

    Isn’t it about time we took this same approach for pot?

    You can read the full essay and comment on it here.

    42 responses to “Latest Media Buzz Regarding Pot’s Potential Impact On IQ Misses The Bigger Issue”

    1. I totally agree I mean the fact alone that kids are smoking pot rather than cigarettes should be a positive in itself, Kids have internet at there disposal they can read information on both substances and realize tobacco kills and cannabis does not. I for one before smoking spent months researching reasons why I should or should not smoke.

      If people are so worried about young minds smoking cannabis then the next step should be to regulate the product and keep it off the black market!!!

    2. shawn kearney says:

      Yes. It seems that every single argument against adequate marijuana regulation can be used more effectively against prohibition. I can’t understand why people don’t see the obvious: that prohibition encourages teen marijuana use – it seems so obvious to me, that I can’t help but think that a good number of people actually do.

    3. Joel: the other Joel says:

      I’ve first saw the article on WebMD, and that same day, it was in the local newspaper.

      It was an article by Salynn Boyles about Duke University postdoctoral researcher Madeline H. Meier, PhD, and her colleagues doing a New Zealand health study.

      It was amazing how the mainstream press went abuzz over this article.

    4. Douglas says:

      Very well said. (Paul) But the pro prohibitions will not want to look at it that way. Iam sur beer does the same thing to kids mine to

    5. Hemp Share says:

      The kids are smoking cannabis over tobacco due to cannabis’ ability to modulate the endogenous cannabinoid system and suppression of adverse memories.

      For kids today, not knowing who their father or parent are, is an adverse memeory.

      If we weren’t such a self-centered society, we would understand that our own lack of security, esteem and identity has led to a consumptive lifestyle where “marriage/fornication” is part of the consumption.

      Children have become the by-product of fornication rather than an intention of pro-creation.

      If you are born a mistake as a by-product of fornication rather than an intention of pro-creation, I can bet you will have adverse memories also.

      The only way to defeat the forces against cannabis are to re-educate.

      Norml should have adopted a campaign of re-education years ago instead of fighting the people who make the laws. These laws will only be lifted if the people ask.

      Hemp is NOT marijuana! – IS THE CAMPAIGN!

      Until this re-education takes place…NO MAINSTREAM VOTER will vote pro-hemp.

    6. Fireweed says:

      Yet another argument that has no relevance to me. So what if this is true? Why should this have any bearing on me at 50+ years of age?

      Hell, for that matter, I started when I was 15. I still managed to graduate from high school with 3 foreign languages under my scalp and went on to college through to a master’s.

      If we banned things on the basis that there’s a few people out there that can’t handle it, then what would be banned in that same light? Motorcycles? Wilderness camping? Rock climbing?

      Republicans raise such a cry about big government being too much in people’s personal lives, yet they are the biggest proponents of keeping the prohibition machine going.

      It’s high time we Smoke the Vote!

    7. TheOracle says:

      This report is juxtaposed to the article on MPP’s site about the 2012 Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users. While some postings find fault with it or offer suggestions to include more woman, it is clear evidence that marijuana use does not make people stupid. The study referred to here in this MORML article uses the subjunctive mood “could” about marijuana use under the age of 18 maybe having adverse effects on a person’s IQ. If the teenager is diverting his/her time from their studies and getting stoned instead, of course they will not do as well on tests. They haven’t learned the material. That raises the question as to whether their IQs suffer if they do master the material and use cannabis or if their IQs suffer even after they cut down or stop using cannabis and are given a second chance to learn the material and then are tested again. What if the kid gets out of high school, then gets serious and goes to a community college to play catch-up on what they should have learned in high school, then goes on to a bachelor’s course or farther?

      MPP’s list of 50 people disproves the suggestion of the study here. Everyone on the list is successful. Actors and musicians memorize long strings of notes and lyrics, character lines, and when the cues are, for example. So much for marijuana adversely affecting memory long-term after the high has worn off.

      I don’t expect the mainstream media to dig to do any research in favor of cannabis because pro-cannabis groups are not among their paying advertisers, even if they would not be afraid of the feds or consequences from their other advertisers such as alcoholic beverage, tobacco companies, pharmaceuticals, law enforcement unions, and the slew of other prohibitionist groups.

      Even if what this study suggests were true, as mentioned and echoes by others, it argues against continuing cannabis prohibition so that a carding system is put in place as a major obstacle to underage people getting it.

      I think the list of 50 should be expanded by ethnic and gender category for 50 white men, 50 white women, 50 black men, 50 black women, 50 asian men, 50 asian women, 50 hispanic men, 50 hispanic women, along those lines, and/or in groups such as 50 republican men, 50 republican women, 50 democratic men, 50 democratic women, 50 libertarian men, 50 libertarian women, 50 green men, 50 green women, which go on ad infinitum to absurdity. A tv show by Trish Regan, who is now on Bloomberg, or somebody else, even the comedy shows like Tosh, Colbert, or Stewart.

      Saturday Night Lame (Live) appears to be totally in the pocket of prohibitionist forces.

      The only way the feds will legalize cannabis is if they have no other choice. Keep running the world economy into the ground so that cannabis prohibition is cut from the budget. If Obama is re-elected and it does not happen, see to it that there is no economic recovery even if the feds make sequestration cuts, which I have serious doubts about them doing because the republicans will want to see to it that Obama does even worse in his 2nd term. If Romney wins and like Obama does not do anything to get the feds out of MMJ states by disallowing the feds from spending any money in MMJ states where the state has not requested their help, then same thing, see to it that the economy does not recover and in fact gets worse even after whatever substantial cuts because of the sequestration. Cannabis prohibition enforcement is clearly a waste of money on a lost cause, and if the federal government makes no progress on extracting itself from it, the clear message is that Washington, D.C. is of the mindset that they can still waste money.

      Government budgets are usually begun a year or so in advance, and they are based on spending the money of the budget in the previous year. Many private sector budgets are also done this way. Basically, if you don’t spend all the money from last year’s budget, then you don’t need that much this year. You justify the next budget by spending everything in the last budget and incrementally ask for me, including your justification for your increase. However, if your company or government organization does not accept your justification for the increase or for what has historically been put in your budget, then your budget gets cut. So you disallow the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the DEA, and IRS (and other federal meddlers) from spending any money at all on going after anyone or any enterprise or organization in MMJ states UNLESS the state requests it. Local authorities must first go up through their respective state chain of command and state instances and can NOT sidestep the state and go right to the feds. Make the various federal agencies, including the fucking drug czar’s office, disallow all that, and you’ve got the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition.

      Other states will see what the MMJ states are saving and are raking in, and they’ll jump on the money train. They’ll take their paper programs off hold, you know, and other states will enact MMJ laws.

      Then we will see if this is just a novelty that will then go away or if the public wants to legalize outright for industrial and recreation purposes, and I’m thinking full legalization is the next step.

      Keep running the economy into the ground until cannabis is legalized–no matter who the President of the U.S. is. The world economic recovery can begin slowly once the feds are out of MMJ states. I recommend holding off on orchestrating a bull market until cannabis is legalized for industrial and recreational purposes, in order to eliminate as much of the death and suffering around the world caused by cannabis prohibition, however. I recommend that cannabis be traded in U.S. dollars and the major commodity market it is traded on be in the U.S. It will create jobs worldwide, provide capital for the modernization of Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin and South America. Drug war money is not development aid. U.S. NGOs and CIA assets can have an overt or covert presence in the countries for monitoring purposes WITHOUT the current level of militarization.

      Keep running the economy into the ground until cannabis is legalized.

    8. Joel: the other Joel says:

      There is a new cannabis prohibition craze on exploiting children, and that is parents are putting signs on their children and humiliate their children in public by distracting drivers at busy intersections.

    9. St. Nick says:

      Don’t listen to those fucking “scientists” who work for the government and are only saying that cause the DEA told them to. They are’nt smart and would “sell their soul” for money.

      I took an IQ test after 8 straight years of smoking and was high for the test. I am not kidding swear to God I scored 132, the top 5% in the world. Why doesn’t Norml try that (hold IQ tests for those that are high). I started in ’99 when I was 15.

      Don’t listen to anything negative about pot or anything negative at all. Together we WILL win.

    10. Gweedo says:

      Also absent from the media’s coverage is the hundreds of other studies which show that cannabis has absolutely no other negative side effects.