Could Failure to use Marijuana Responsibly for 5-6 Years as an Adult Pose the Same Mental and General Health Risks as Childhood Use or Even Failure to Exercise?

Could Failure to use Marijuana Responsibly for 5-6 Years as an Adult Pose the Same Mental and General Health Risks as Childhood Use or Even Failure to Exercise?

  Recent research has confirmed findings from the early 2000s which showed an increase in IQ among responsible adult users of marijuana in comparison to those who never used cannabis. While childhood use has been shown to be indicative of negative health consequences concurrent with reduced prolactin levels, looking into the effects of marijuana as a predictor or causal agent in positive health effects outside of the realm of cancer prevention has been relatively untilled ground. That builds on previous research which explored the possibility of using cannabis to reduce levels of dependence on other products with responsible adult use, even as childhood use has been proven to negatively impact the odds of responsible adult use. This paper will review some of the basic facts which longitudinal studies have demonstrated as an effect of responsible adult marijuana use, and how those effects can play out on a society while evaluating some very glaring inconsistencies or limiting factors which have presented.
  The impact of IQ on income and social class has been long established and is well publicized in today’s highly technological global community. Less known are its predictive values for life expectancy and more severe mental health complications. Childhood IQ can predict mortality between groups with great discrepancies (Whalley). Lower childhood IQ has been associated with many mental health issues, though it has been shown to predict a lower rate of adult mania, an interesting anomaly which may merit some attention but does not disturb the nature of this trend (Koenen). While the impact of changes in IQ from adult or childhood use of marijuana, whether positive or negative, on life expectancy are minimal, paling in comparison to regular physical activity, which can add as much as a decade, or somewhat akin to tobacco use, shown to remove 1-2 years (Ferrucci), among a population these changes can demonstrate a viable advantage which should not be overlooked.
  A horizontal shift in IQ can double the highly gifted and geniuses among a society with an average IQ of 98, such as the USA, and will continue to produce significant gains as IQ increases. Massive gains have been seen in the past (Flynn), with many factors that can be held responsible from removing environmental toxins such as lead to increased availability of educational factors which can play roles. The gains which are being described have yielded greater total and proportional numbers of college and high school graduates, which is yielding advantages to all spectrums of society (Moretti). There is no reason this trend should not remain the case.
  Responsible adult use of marijuana has been shown to increase IQ in a causal fashion (Fried) in a manner equivalent to the decline in IQ associated with childhood use. Heavy use is here substituted with childhood use because of later research which showed that the probability of becoming dependent on marijuana are around half of that of alcohol at age 18 and virtually zero by age 21 (Chen). Recent research has shown that the increase in IQ is a causal consequence of cannabis exposure, and not one of a predictive nature, a conclusion largely apparent from research (Filbey). That was research which also helped to investigate some of the mechanisms behind higher brain functioning. This would appear to now be a manner of basic deductive reasoning to see that this increase in IQ also will give a concrete benefit to society with responsible adult use encouraged by the spreading legalization of recreational marijuana.
  Some problems have presented, however, and many of the same issues which have negatively impacted attempts to prohibit cannabis now impede an honest recommendation of use for the purpose of mental health at least, though the anti-cancer properties appear to be solid in nature. Many mental health disorders are accompanied by self-inflicted harm, hard drug use, and other certain outcomes which leads to a negative stigma and a serious approach towards treatment. Early childhood use has been shown, commiserate with a declining IQ and mental functioning, to increase such negative outcomes along with other negative physical and mental effects including decreased mortality (Manrique). Interestingly, however, responsible adult use has “only” been found to result in equivalent outcomes among responsible adult users as those who had never used in all methods of evaluation including hard drug use and mortality from all causes (Andreasson).
The research outlined previously does not indicate any limiting factors which should be present in regards to mental health or life expectancy concerns: all countries involved in such research do have room for improvement which far outweighs any contribution from cannabis use of virtually any nature. It is unlikely that there is an organization responsible for the wholesale massacre of 1-2% of the marijuana using community, or slightly early termination of individual marijuana users that could explain the lost additional productivity, life expectancy, and mental health gains which are to be expected in any country, much less the developed countries where this research has taken place, so this particular confounding situation will have to stand as an anomaly or unexplained phenomenon. That statement may appear provocative and the latter precludes the former. Should the former be the case, the mental health gains would still be evident without a targeted shock among the mentally ill. There could also be an issue with multiple research studies, notably the work of Whalley, which would alter this conclusion should heightened IQ not causally impact greater life expectancies, or perhaps most likely, that the Swedish researchers led by Andreasson vastly overestimated the use of marijuana by the conscripts in their study, with heavy use occurring in childhood users but without the vast numbers of extraneous responsible adult users in excess of the childhood users which present in the USA, and naturally with a substance of the type. That is deemed as most likely due to the tendency of European cultures to expose younger children to age-restricted substances than in America, at least. The nature of a bell curve does indicate that the lower tail of IQ performance will demonstrate a limited effect on outliers with further horizontal shocks, so the failure to materialize significant declines in hard drug use or self-inflicted harm and other indicators of lower intellect are not outside of expectations and does not indicate confounding material or discrepancies in research.
Finally, some issues have been noted with application of the positive and negative health benefits of cannabis to adults from a financial perspective, in terms of productivity gained. While there is no question that the general economy has fared more effectively in a large part due to intellectual progress and increasing regulations which have made American children and adults healthier, application of this theory has fallen apart when applied to responsible adult users of marijuana (Cerdá). As a group, according to research, the increase in IQ should be easily described as an economic shock, giving a great advantage in terms of productivity and social class. Both of these are frustratingly missing after economic research. Unlike the discrepancy in life expectancy, and perhaps exacerbating that conundrum, there are pieces of information which present to address this situation. Because childhood and responsible adult use are not distinctions made previously in research on health care costs, it must be assumed that the costs of childhood marijuana users tend to be much higher as a result of marijuana dependence and psychological or physical manifestations of this. Therefore, research showing that cannabis users as a population have the same per capita health care utilization as those who have never used could be interpreted to show significant gains among the responsible adult users (Fuster). As health care can make up hundreds of thousands of dollars over a life time, and is among the dominant expenses both for an individual and for the government, this may be communication of the gained productivity from cannabis use to healthier lifestyles or investments, if not more financially frugal decisions.
The research is fascinating and demanding in nature. Seeing the demographic dispersion among groups of people after laboratory or controlled experiments which add a political or social aspect to the work is relatively rare. It can be concluded that responsible adult use of marijuana does indeed result in productivity gains associated with the increased IQ, and equal to the detrimental effects from childhood use. These gains in the current population of marijuana users, as a significant minority, are invested heavily into healthcare, though there is a low likelihood that this would continue with a regulated industry, while the trend may remain to some extent. In terms of life expectancy, the results are anything but clear, and this deserves further attention, investigation, or experimentation. While childhood users face increased mortality risks as expected, the responsible adult users live exactly the same lifespan as those who have never used. The 1-2% gap between expected and actual life expectancies is not explained by limits on health care returns: countries have greater life expectancies than the USA. It does not detract from the massive predicted and realized gains of responsible adult users of marijuana in terms of productivity and health care, or tarnish in anyway the great impact legalized recreational marijuana will have on the United States of America and the world in coming years.


Andreasson, S., and P. Allebeck. “Cannabis and mortality among young men A longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts.” Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 18.1 (1990): 9-15.
Cerdá, Magdalena, et al. “Persistent Cannabis Dependence and Alcohol Dependence Represent Risks for Midlife Economic and Social Problems A Longitudinal Cohort Study.” Clinical Psychological Science (2016): 2167702616630958.
Chen, Chuan-Yu, Megan S. O’Brien, and James C. Anthony. “Who becomes cannabis dependent soon after onset of use? Epidemiological evidence from the United States: 2000–2001.” Drug and alcohol dependence 79.1 (2005): 11-22.
Ferrucci, Luigi, et al. “Smoking, physical activity, and active life expectancy.” American journal of epidemiology 149.7 (1999): 645-653.
Filbey, Francesca M., et al. “Preliminary findings demonstrating latent effects of early adolescent marijuana use onset on cortical architecture.” Developmental cognitive neuroscience 16 (2015): 16-22.
Flynn, James R. “The mean IQ of Americans: Massive gains 1932 to 1978.” Psychological bulletin 95.1 (1984): 29.
Fried, Peter, et al. “Current and former marijuana use: preliminary findings of a longitudinal study of effects on IQ in young adults.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 166.7 (2002): 887-891.
Fuster, Daniel, et al. “No detectable association between frequency of marijuana use and health or healthcare utilization among primary care patients who screen positive for drug use.” Journal of general internal medicine 29.1 (2014): 133-139.
Koenen, Karestan C., et al. “Childhood IQ and adult mental disorders: a test of the cognitive reserve hypothesis.” American Journal of Psychiatry (2009).
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Moretti, Enrico. “Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data.” Journal of econometrics121.1 (2004): 175-212.
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Effect of nicotine, alcohol, and THC on vein diameter

Nicotine shown to have half the constrictive properties on veins as alcohol, and marijuana actually will make them bigger (with vasorelaxatory properties identified in THC)!

Nicotine and vein constriction:
“Smoking was associated with significant changes in the aortic pressure-diameter relation that denote deterioration of the elastic properties and were maintained during the whole study period: the slope of the pressure-diameter loop became steeper (baseline, 35.43±1.38; minute 1, 45.26±1.65; peak at minute 10, 46.36±1.69 mm Hg/mm; P<.001) and aortic distensibility decreased (baseline, 2.08±0.12; minute 1, 1.60±0.08; nadir at minute 5, 1.54±0.07×10−6 cm2·dyne−1P<.001). In contrast, no changes in aortic elasticity indexes were observed with sham smoking."

Alcohol and vein constriction:
“Blood ethanol levels achieved at 60, 120, and 180 minutes were 649+-48, 1,285±81, and 2,546+-130jug/ml, respectively. LAD cross-sectional area was reduced significantly from control at the end of each of the three dosing periods (-24± 5%, -40± 3%, and -53±.3%; p<0.004). a-Adrenergic blockade had no effecton LAD cross-sectional area, while nicardipine partially reversed the ethanol-induced vasoconstriction. No significant change in vessel cross-sectional area took place in control dogs."
Marijuana and vein relaxation:
“The present results provide strong evidence that THC is a PPARγ ligand, stimulation of which causes time-dependent vasorelaxation”
This results in a lower blood pressure and better athletic performance.
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