Claim Of Link Between Intelligence And Cannabis Use In Adolescence Provides Fresh Headache For Researcher

Children with high and medium academic ability at age 11 are more likely to use cannabis in late adolescence compared to children with low academic ability, according to a new study published in BMJ Open.

The researchers, from University College London, examined the school records of more than 6,000 children. Their analysis showed that children of medium academic ability at age 11 were more likely to go on to be either occasional or persistent users of cannabis than children of low academic ability. This was the case for both early adolescence (13 to 17 years of age) and in late adolescence (18 to 20 years of age).

For children with high academic ability at age 11, the results were less certain. Although they were more likely than the low ability children to use cannabis in early adolescence, the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant. In other words the association could have been down to chance. However, for the period between 18 and 20 years, the high ability group was significantly more likely to be either occasional or persistent users of cannabis than the low ability group.

Previous research has found a clear link between academic ability and intelligence, so the evidence suggests that smarter kids are more likely to smoke cannabis than their less gifted peers. The big question is: why?

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