STUDY Marijuana Use may have Little or No effect on IQ

Last summer, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sparked a new round of worries about the dangers of smoking pot—especially for those who start smoking at younger ages. 

The study found that consistent marijuana use gradually eroded cognitive functioning and IQ, and with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, it’s made an appearance in a number of articles arguing that legalized pot poses a serious health hazard. Today, though, a new study published in the very same journal—and using the very same data set—suggests that the case against marijuana is a little less cut-and-dry.

Ole R√łgeberg, a researcher at the Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Norway, analyzed the same survey results and found that the declines in cognitive abilities could be entirely attributed to socioeconomic factors. As a result, “the true effect” of marijuana use, he argues, “could be zero.”
R√łgeberg is careful to note that his reinterpretation of the data doesn’t entirely discredit the original study, but he does write that its “methodology is flawed and the causal inference drawn from the results premature.”

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