October 23, 2019  Last Update: November 27, 2017, 8:52 pm

Pot Makes You Stupid: Marijuana Use and IQ

Does weed make you stupid? Here we show a random booth babe from a marijuana festival. 

Are you wicked smart, and a fan of marijuana? Maybe you even credit the weed with some of your creativity, or your ability to see through complexity better than your peers? Well, according to new research out of Duke University, you might have been even smarter, had you not smoked so much weed.

The study examined adolescent marijuana use, specifically. If kids start smoking weed, do they experience a cognitive decline over time? Yes, they do.

If kids stop smoking marijuana, do they re-gain the lost abilities, the observed “neuropsychological decline”? No, they don’t.

If someone starts smoking weed early, compared to someone who started smoking later, is it worse? Yes, it is. The younger the start, and the more chronic the use, the bigger the decline in cognitive factors measured.

Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning, even after controlling for years of education.
- Duke University

I always found it interesting when friends who smoked weed would say there are no detrimental effects associated with cannabis (pot, hash, THC,  marijuana). I would then note that we all know at least one person we refer to as a “stoner”: a chronic marijuana consumer who acts a certain way. My friends would then agree, and start identifying those traits:

  • slightly closed eyes, compared to normal or ‘wide awake” person
  • speaks with tilted head or head moving a bit more than the average person
  • exaggerated syllables on some parts of speech, especially parts that are exhales
  • living life as an observer, rarely courageous, rarely spontaneous

So what would explain a consistent set of these traits among chronic, heavy marijuana users? Nobody could explain that. But at the same time, very often they could comment “but so-and-so is wicked smart, crazy smart. It’s not like pot made him stupid”.

According to this research, “findings are suggestive of a neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the adolescent brain“. Based on my own experiences, I’m starting to think maybe a lot of really smart people like to smoke marijuana, and some of those suffer consequences that are “obvious” even if they retain an above average IQ and continue to be “wicked smart”.

That doesn’t change the evidence that young smokers risk measurable cognitive decline from marijuana use.




  1. […] lead to more health issues which are traceable to marijuana use. As we jovially noted in “pot makes you stupid“, plenty of researchers are interested in working with marijuana. They are almost certain to […]

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