PCP: Pot study proves nothing conclusive

Lindsay Bookout

Abbi Pittman

A recent study suggests that regular marijuana use in teenagers may result in lower IQ scores, according to the Associated Press. Duke University researchers tested the IQs of 1,000 Dunedin, New Zealand residents when they were all 13, and then again at 38. Those who admitted they had “become dependent on marijuana” before age 18 were the only participants whose IQ scores had dropped an average of 8 points between the ages of 13 and 38. 

Read the counter-point here.


Lindsey BookoutI find this study is misleading for many reasons.

First of all, it’s hard to take this research seriously with a sample of size of 1,000 people from the same town, born in the same year.

Second, the study does not investigate the strains of marijuana in the New Zealand area, how much THC was consumed, or what the drug might have been laced with.

There are different marijuana strains in different parts of the world, and limiting the study to New Zealand yields results that just aren’t diverse enough to truly represent the general human population.

Third, the full study doesn’t rule out persistent hard drug dependence in participants, but it fails to consider that occasional hard drug use could have affected people’s IQs.

A person could have been exposed to a variety of outside influences that caused his or her IQ to drop. Just because these people smoked weed and showed drops in their IQs over the course of 20 years does not mean that the two events are related.

If there’s one thing that I learned from AP Statistics, it is that correlation does not prove causation.

Unlike other substances, pot has very few severe withdrawal symptoms and most people can quit rather easily, according to Psychology Today.

Only 10% of users will become psychologically (not physically) addicted and develop any noticeable problems as a result of frequent pot smoking.

Therefore, participants in the study who claimed to have “cannabis dependence” most likely have other issues that should have been better researched.  

For this study to truly represent the population and make a definite conclusion about marijuana use, every variable needed to be examined. 

Bookout, a sophomore English major from Charlotte, is an intern news reporter.