The new study has revealed that using cannabis excessively can affect cognitive abilities mainly Intelligence Quotient (IQ) eventually causing an IQ decline with time. These findings add up to the existing evidence on how cannabis may affect the mental and physical health of a person.
This study is now published in the journal Psychological Medicine.
Cannabis is a plant that has numerous phytochemicals inside named cannabinoids which are responsible for alerting the brain functions. It takes only a few minutes for the body to absorb these cannabinoids and its mind-altering effects start to show up within minutes.
The research team from the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences focused on identifying the neurological risks attached to cannabis usage. These results show that the people who frequently or excessively use cannabis can suffer from 2 point IQ decline which doesn’t show up in people who don’t use cannabis otherwise. A more detailed analysis finally revealed that this IQ decline by cannabis is mainly a decrease in verbal IQ.
This study was a statistical and systematic analysis of 7 previous studies based on 808 adult cannabis users who shared a weekly history of cannabis for at least six months. Their data was compared to 5308 adults who have no history of cannabis or any other recreational herb or medicine.
To estimate the decline in IQ, the research team set a baseline IQ and matched it with every study where the participant had to match that IQ to be a part of this analysis.
Many previous studies on cannabis report that younger ones are most likely to use cannabis and it can cause drastic medical issues in their health in later years. The risk of mental diseases was highest such as schizophrenia.
Low IQ levels especially during younger age can interfere with studies and it is also one of the biggest causes of high school and college dropouts. Cannabis use in professionals is linked with impaired performance, risk of losing a job, and financial problems. Excessive use of cannabis may also cause relationship problems making the psychological problems worse and increasing the risk of anxiety, social isolation, or drug abuse.
There are many reasons why younger people are more inclined towards using cannabis. For example, peer pressure, adjustment problems into a new place, or relationship problems can persuade towards a temporary relief.
On the other side, many of them believe that cannabis is harmless for them because it is a plant-based product. Despite being a natural product, overdosing or abusing cannabis can cause psychological and physical problems in a person. In addition to the IQ decline, he may suffer from thinking problems, memory-related issues, anxiety, and impaired brain-to-body coordination.
The increased use of cannabis among younger adults is a big concern all around the world. Not only it can hinder in development of their brain but also makes them susceptible to certain diseases. Based on the findings of this study, it is necessary to educate younger ones regarding cannabis and other opioids.