‘Marijuana makes people retarded – especially when they’re young’.
So claimed conservative commentator Ann Coulter while speaking at Politicon last week.
But while such inflammatory claims by culture warriors like Coulter are to be expected – and may readily be dismissed – the notion that smoking pot will have lasting negative impacts on intelligence is a longstanding one and a claim that is all too often made by those on both sides of the political spectrum.
Yet the latest science finds little to no factual basis for this contention.
Longitudinal data just recently published online in the journal Addiction reports that pot smoking is not independently associated with adverse effects on the developing brain.
A team of investigators from the United States and the United Kingdom evaluated whether marijuana use is directly associated with changes over time in neuropsychological performance in a nationally representative cohort of adolescent twins.
Authors reported that ‘family background factors’ but not the use of cannabis negatively impacted adolescents’ cognitive performance.