Cannabis stupid or not?

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Researchers argue about the validity of a cannabis study

Doesn't stoning make you stupid? After a study published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS) caused a sensation last year, according to which "excessive cannabis use in adolescence" leads to impairments of cognitive performance and a loss of the intelligence quotient (IQ), Norwegian economist Ole Rogeberg has now published a contribution in the same journal that fundamentally questions the methodology of the original study.

Rogeberg comes to the conclusion that the correlations between cannabis use and IQ changes in the cohort study are at least in part due to the poorer socio-economic status of the stoners. Accordingly, cannabis use would not be the cause of the IQ loss. According to Ole Rogeberg, the authors of the original study probably overestimated the causal relationship between the intellect and smoking pot. "The real effect could be zero," concluded the Norwegian scientist.

Excessive cannabis use among adolescents harmful According to the publication of the study by the research team led by Madeline Meier from the Institute for Psychology and Neurosciences at Duke University in Durhamn (USA) at the end of July 2012, it almost seemed as if the media landscape had just been waiting for such news. "Smoking pot is stupid," was read by everyone. “” also reported on the topic, but provided the questionable headline with a question mark for a reason. In the original study - unlike most media reports - the correlation found did not refer to cannabis use in general, but only to excessive cannabis use among adolescents. Adolescents who used a lot of cannabis over a long period of time had a lower IQ, but this does not allow a statement about the consequences of the occasional cannabis use in adults.

Socio-economic status instead of cannabis decisive for IQ loss Furthermore, the objection of the Norwegian researcher Ole Rogeberg seems justified that a correlation between the poorer socio-economic status and smoking on the one hand and the less favorable cognitive development on the other hand to the apparently causal connection between the IQ and the Cannabis use. Because numerous studies show that cannabis use in adolescence is closely linked to living conditions, which in turn have a significant influence on the development of the intellect, says Rogeberg. The social environment has been shown to be directly related to the intellectual development of children. Since the US scientists had not taken sufficient account of the effect, their study results were at least distorted, if not completely useless. (fp)

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Image: Petra Bork /

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