There is no evidence that marijuana makes you smarter. On the bright side, there is evidence that it does not make your IQ decline. Even heavy cannabis users do not have to worry about consumption decreasing IQ points according to one study from the University College of London.
“In particular alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline,” the authors write. “No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”
That isn’t to say cannabis has no cognitive benefits whatsoever. New research shows that marijuana supports neurogenesis, which is the process where new brain cells are created. Neurogenesis is an essential component of brain function and greatly reduces the chances of developing depression, Alzheimer’s, and other disorders.
Cannabis may make you more creative too. Research is confirming cannabis positively impacts divergent thinking, which is a component of creativity. By increasing divergent thinking, people are more likely to think outside of the box and make new connections to help them solve problems.
Steven Laviolette at The University of Western Ontario confirmed that cannabis certainly has mood altering effects, but they vary by individual. This contributes to why cannabis has gotten a reputation for inconsistent side effects —some claim it makes them feel relaxed and creative; others report feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
This is just the tipping point. As regulation and legalization spread state to state, funded studies will help answer important questions about marijuana and it’s effects on the mind and body.