Does Pot Make You Dumb? By Travis Varner

2153 words - 9 pages

There is much controversy concerning the use and abuse of illicit drugs such as marijuana. One of the main controversial issues surrounding this drug is whether or not its use hinders cognition. Authors Robert Block, L D Chait, Robert Mathias and Peter Fried, Barbara Watkinson, Deborah James, and Robert Gray have all conducted slightly differing studies on the cognitive effects of marijuana. Block, the author of, "The Effect of Chronic Marijuana Use on Human Cognition," studied the effects of long term marijuana use by comparing nonusers to light, intermediate and heavy users in several intellectual fields. Chait, who wrote "Subjective and Behavioral Effects of marijuana", Studied the effects of, marijuana the say aster using the drug. Peter Fried, Barbara Watkinson, Deborah James, and Robert Gray, coauthors of "Current and Former Marijuana Use: Preliminary Findings of a Longitudinal Study of effects on IQ in Young Adults", investigated the effects of heavy, intermediate, light and past users as well as nonusers on the effect of IQ. Finally Mathias, the writer of "Studies Show the Cognitive Impairment Lingers in Heavy Marijuana Users", studied the effects of heavy marijuana use on cognitive function as well as the learning of new information. Block, Chait, and Peter Fried, Barbara Watkinson, Deborah James, and Robert Gray all seemed to come to the conclusion that marijuana use had no significant effect on human cognition; however Mathias found that heavy marijuana use did in fact have an impact on learning and cognitive function. Why then does Mathias disagree? The main differences were in the results of the four tests. Block, Chait, and Fried et al found that there was no noteworthy difference between users and non users in their cognitive function. Whereas Mathias found that cognitive function was significantly affected by the use of marijuana. One possible reason for this difference was that Mathias tested for more acute effects of the drug where as Block, and Fried et al tested for more long term effects.CITE. However Chait, who also researched marijuana's acute effects, is in direct opposition to Mathias when it comes to their results. Chait found that the only effect that marijuana had on cognitive function the day after it had been smoked was that people had found it easy to get to sleep the night before, and they seemed to be in a more positive mood the following morning. Chait's findings may have actually led to reveal that marijuana increased cognitive functioning, (Chait, 1994) Whereas Mathias found that people that had used marijuana twenty-four hours before testing had trouble sustaining and shifting their attention, which caused impairment in learning new information. However, Mathias did state, "The problem was not getting the users to remember something after they had learned it: rather it was getting them to learn it in the first place." (Mathias, 1996, p100) Although Block, Chait, and Fried et al all concurred that...

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