Marijuana kills brain cells. This has been the consensus among professionals and laypeople for sometime. Though many people use marijuana as a spiritual enlightenment tool, for focus, and even to help tame erratic conditions like autism and seizures, marijuana still isn’t that good for the brain. When people start experimenting with marijuana in their adolescent and teenage years they risk halting cognitive development in their prefrontal cortex, which is where all of the “smart stuff” happens. Still, marijuana enthusiasts have argued with marijuana critics that marijuana isn’t bad for the brain and it’s all science-propaganda-hype.
New research from Florida State University took a look at a famous study called “Add Health” which is considered one of the largest longitudinal surveys on adolescent health. In the survey, over 20,000 middle school and high school age kids were followed through three phases from their academic years into adulthood. The FSU researchers wanted to compare the relationship between how often kids used marijuana, their cumulative use of marijuana over time, and their verbal intelligence. When examining intelligence in such studies, Journalist Resource explains, verbal intelligence is often a proxy for intelligence as a whole.
Marijuana and lower intelligence scores have a relationship. However, the researchers were not able to define a relationship regarding the quantity of marijuana. Meaning, there is no indicating whether or not a lot of pot or even just a little bit of pot is going to do the damage. Interestingly, the researchers did find that there was a small difference in intelligence scores between those who never tried marijuana and those who did try marijuana in their youth. Even those who tried marijuana just once still had a lower score.
Of course, there were many limitations to the study and compared to the millions of marijuana users around the world, just 20,000 kids isn’t exactly substantial. Still, the evidence plays part in a larger conversation about how safe marijuana use is or isn’t. Compared to immediately life-threatening drugs like opioids, marijuana is relatively harmless. However, marijuana use disorder is a diagnosable issue that can severely impair mental health and wellness.
The bottom line is: “stoner syndrome” might not be too far off. It’s possible there is such a thing as “too burned”. Thankfully, recovery and total abstinence from drugs and alcohol help to repair the brain.
If you’re struggling to stay sober from marijuana, there is help. You can live a drug free life in total health. Sound Recovery Solutions proudly serves South Florida with empowering partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs as well as stabilization services and outpatient care. Our strong alumni program is filled with local leaders of the recovery community, lending time and mentorship to participants in our care programs. Call us today for information on how our clients are growing through development and clinical healing: (561) 666-7427