You’ve probably seen the propagandistic anti-drug ad that attempts to analogize the perils of drug use with a frying egg: “This is your brain,” the very serious narrator says, as someone holds a whole egg. The hand cracks the egg into a pre-heated pan, and as it sizzles and sputters, the narrator gravely warns, “This is your brain on drugs.”
Of course, the theatrics were intended to scare the bejeezus out of kids who didn’t want to somehow end up idiots for life; but the oft-parodied advertisement has now been officially debunked. Data released for a new study proves cannabis use is not associated with lower IQ or educational performance.
According to British researchers assessing the relationship of cumulative cannabis use by adolescents, once confounding factors had been adjusted, such as cigarette-smoking and childhood depression, “Those who had used cannabis 50 [or more] times did not differ from never-users on either IQ or educational performance.”
A group of 2,235 teens served as the sample group for the study, slated for publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, which sought to “test the relationships between cumulative cannabis and IQ at the age of 15 and educational performance at the age of 16.” Of the 15-year-olds, 24% reported having tried cannabis at least one time.
These findings further dispute a previous study published in 2012 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggested heavy cannabis use by those under the age of 18 led to lower IQ twenty years later in life. Though it received a great deal of publicity, further review of the same data published in the same journal implied socioeconomic status — not cannabis use — likely explained the lowered IQ measurement.
In fact, the researchers did find a “robust” correlation between adolescent cigarette smoking and poorer educational performance that had nothing whatsoever to do with marijuana use.
So feel free to laugh — if you didn’t already — the next time anyone references that infamous Drug War fried egg.