It is the mantra of a million concerned moms: “Don’t smoke pot — it will rot your brain.”
Not necessarily, if a new study is to be believed.
Researchers at UC San Diego and the University of Pittsburgh found no physical evidence of brain degeneration among teenage pot smokers.
Teenager boozers, on the other hand, showed reduced white matter brain tissue (which, we assume, is the brain matter that normally inhibits people from singing loudly and peeing on trees at 2:30 in the goddamn morning).
Of course, teenagers who smoked pot regularly indeed had temporary periods of reduced brain function, followed by periods of increased tolerance of the Flaming Lips’ early work and Hot Pockets. But brain scans, which were the focus of the study, revealed no “rotting” effect on teenagers brains.
That’s not to say young pot smokers are destined to become Nobel laureates. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that people who smoke a lot of pot before they’re 18 run the risk of a significant drop in IQ.
So, unfortunately, smoking pot as a teenager probably indeed makes you a bit dumber. The new study just indicates that the cause of such dumbification might be something more subtle than brain rot.
Still, next time some rosy-lunged finger-wagger tells you that marijuana “rots” the brain, you can refute them with the power of science. If, that is, you remember reading about the new study. Which, if you’re smoking pot, you probably won’t.