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Instagram via @jarlos420

Good news: smoking weed doesn’t affect your intelligence

Not-so-good news: smoking tobacco probably does

Stoners get a shitty rep. On top of all those shifty cultural characterisations, YouGov recently revealed their “quintessential cannabis smoker” as a Rubicon-loving layabout. You want to smoke weed? Well then you also want to deep fry your brain cells. It comes with the territory. That’s just how it goes.

However, a new study may just be about to debunk that well-worn theory. According to research pulled from the Journal of Psycopharmacology, smoking cannabis may actually have no effect on your intelligence or your IQ level – though, shockingly, smoking tobacco probably will.

The study, which surveyed 2235 teenagers, mapped tobacco and cannabis use against IQ and educational performance – and discovered that there was a “robust” link between smoking cigarettes and low educational achievement.

“There is much debate about the impact of adolescent cannabis use on intellectual and educational outcomes,” explained the study, with was undertaken by the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. “After full adjustment, those who had used cannabis 50 times did not differ from never-users on either IQ or educational performance.”

“Adjusting for group differences in cigarette smoking dramatically attenuated the associations between cannabis use and both outcomes, and further analyses demonstrated robust associations between cigarette use and educational outcomes, even with cannabis users excluded.”

Given the wave of legalisation that is currently sweeping across the US – as well as Ireland – this news isn’t all that suprising. The outdated theories that support anti-drug laws are finally being contested, with many now criticising the wider, more damaging implications of drug criminalisation. After all, given how harmful and addictive tobacco and alcohol can be, health can’t really be used as an excuse anymore.

“These findings suggest that adolescent cannabis use is not associated with IQ or educational performance once adjustment is made for potential confounds, in particular adolescent cigarette use,” the study concluded. 

“Modest cannabis use in teenagers may have less cognitive impact than epidemiological surveys have previously suggested.”