Study: Marijuana Use in Early Life May Affect Brain Function, IQ

An America where marijuana is legal could be right around the corner. It's a cross-generational cause that is finally starting to have its day on the ballot.

Many of us, as well as our parents and grandparents, have been waiting for this moment: a day when marijuana becomes legal. But if legalization of marijuana is right around the corner, we need to start asking ourselves how we want to regulate this drug.

“You have to make policy based on: does this hurt you? Does this hurt other people? And that's where harm reduction comes from,” says Maia Szalavitz, a journalist fluent in the most recent neuroscience research.

Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told The Washington Post in an email. "Most Americans agree that the responsible adult use of cannabis ought not to be criminalized. The battle now is finding consensus regarding the details of how best to regulate this market."

Most will argue there should be an age restriction on marijuana use, as with most recreational drugs (save coffee). However, a new study may start the conversation prior to the vote this November.

The findings indicate that early marijuana use “may have an abnormal effect not only on brain function, but also on IQ,” said Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute. The Institute further reported: "those participants who used marijuana from a young age had highly abnormal brain function in areas related to visuo-spatial processing, memory, self-referential activity and reward processing." It should be noted this study had a small number of participants, so it will take further research to prove a solid connection and causation.

In a new and interesting twist, the study found that those who began marijuana use early carried a gene that may predispose some to start marijuana use early on.

It’s too soon to say anything concrete about how early marijuana use affects our well-being. However, this pilot study does warrant a more intensive, larger study to see how policymakers should move forward, as marijuana becomes more widely legal.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less