Tag Archives: IQ

Rand Paul: Marijuana users lose IQ points and lack motivation

By Eric W. Dolan / Monday, June 17, 2013 22:18 EDT

Rand Paul screenshot

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said Monday he did not support the legalization of marijuana, though he did support some form of decriminalization.

“What I think is that if your kid or one of his friends goes out and gets caught with marijuana, sticking them in prison is a big mistake,” he told Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution. “So I don’t really believe in prison sentences for these minor non-violent drug offenses, but I’m not willing to go all the way to say it is a good idea either. I think people who use marijuana all the time lose IQ points, I think they lose their drive to show up for work.”

Paul, however, added that he believed individual states should be allowed to decide whether they wanted to legalize marijuana or not.

Much to the chagrin of his libertarian supporters, Paul has said he doesn’t support drug legalization. Despite Paul’s lack of support for legalization, many drug policy reformers view him as an ally because of his support for legislation to scale back the war on drugs.

During the Hoover Institution interview, Paul also said he supported overturning the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. He said abortion as well as same-sex marriage should be issues for the states to decide.

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Study casts doubt on link between cannabis, teen IQ drop

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – A landmark study suggesting a link between cannabis use and a drop in teenage IQ may not have gone far enough in its research, with any falls in IQ more likely due to lower socioeconomic status than marijuana, according to a Norwegian study.

The latest work, which appears in the journal PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, also suggests that different policy steps might be needed in that case.

"My study essentially shows that the methods used and analyses presented in the original research are insufficient to rule out other explanations (for lower IQ)," said Ole Rogeberg, an economist at the Frisch Centre for Economics Research in Oslo, to Reuters.

The Dunedin Multi-disciplinary Health and Development Study is an ongoing report produced by New Zealand’s University of Otago, monitoring 1,037 New Zealand children born between April 1972 and March 1973. The study followed them for 40 years.

The participants were periodically tested for IQ and other indices including drug taking, and in 2012 clinical psychologist Madeline Meier produced a study saying there was a link between teenage cannabis use and a lower IQ.

Researchers in the Meier study compared the IQ trends of people who never smoked cannabis with four groups of those who did: people who smoked, people who scored as dependent in a follow-up survey, those who scored as dependent twice and those who scored as dependent three times.

The study found IQ declines increasing "linearly" with cannabis use, Rogeberg wrote in PNAS.

The crucial assumption in the Meier study is that cannabis use is the only relevant difference between the groups tested, he said. His use of a simulation model showed that it may be premature to draw a causal inference between marijuana use and falling IQ scores.

For one thing, other writing about the Dunedin group on which Meier’s study is based suggest that early cannabis use is more common for people with poor self-control, previous conduct problems, and high scores on risk factors linked to low family socioeconomic status, he wrote.

Given these factors, young people from lower status families tended to end up in less intellectually demanding environments, whether by choice or by circumstance, which would increase the difference in IQ levels as they aged.

"We know that the researchers have measured the IQ of the participants at various ages in childhood – but we don’t know if the IQ changes were similar for the different cannabis-using groups before their cannabis use," he told Reuters.

"We don’t know how much of the change in IQ we can explain by differences in education, jail time, occupational status, etc and whether this affects the estimates in the paper."

(Reporting by Pauline Askin, editing by Elaine Lies)

Reuters Health

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