A new study out of Australia – eight years in the making – followed nearly 2,000 young adults in a public health project that found cannabis use has little effect on long-term memory and learning abilities.
Participants in the study were aged 20 to 24 when it began 8 years ago, and they were subjected to memory and intelligence testing three times over the course of the study. The participants were divided into three groups: heavy users, light users, and non-users/former users. Heavy users comprised 9% of the study group, while 18% were light users and the rest were non-users or former users who hadn’t ingested cannabis in at least a year.
The lower education levels of the pot smokers — and their greater likelihood of being male — had made it look like marijuana had significantly affected their intelligence. In fact, men simply tend to do worse than women on tests of verbal intelligence, while women generally underperform on math tests. The relative weighting of the tests made the impact of pot look worse than it was.
The simple fact is that while cannabis has a psychoactive ingredient – THC – and if you’re really high you may talk slower and forget things, no one has proven that marijuana does any long term damage – or any damage at all for that matter – when it comes to cognitive abilities.
While opponents of marijuana legalization would like you to think marijuana is harmful, evidence mounts further everyday that it is not.