Apparently the sharpest tools in the shed are also often the highest.
We all know a highly-functional pothead, who, despite smoking weed upwards of three times each day is absolutely killing life. He or she probably brings home more than us, has a cooler job—possibly in the arts—tells better jokes at parties and has deep conversations about true happiness in which she quotes Jung, Joseph Campbell and Jesus all without looking anything up on her iPhone. While most of us are barely able to bake cupcakes from a box after smoking, the functional stoner can take four hits from a vaporizer and proceed to pay her bills, shop online, and discuss Christmas plans with her mother.
It’s infuriating, but there’s a totally logical reason why she can do that and you can’t. That reason—from what I can gather—is that your high friend is objectively a whole lot smarter than you.
At least that’s what I’m choosing to gather from a new study based on 8,000 British adults who were tracked for three decades by two researchers, James White and G. David Batty from Cardiff University and University College London. According to L.A. Times, White and Batty gave IQ tests to the sample at age 5 and/ or 10, then interviewed them about drug use at ages 16 and 30.
Using that data, White and Batty divided the people into three groups based on their IQ scores (low, medium and high). They found that those in the top IQ group at age 5 were more likely than those in the bottom IQ group to have ever used marijuana by the time they were 16. At age 30, women with high IQ scores were more than twice as likely as low-IQ women to have used marijuana or cocaine in the prior year, while men with high IQs were 46% more likely to have used amphetamines and 65% more likely to have used ecstasy than their low-IQ counterparts.
According to the Times, “The statistical analysis controlled for certain other factors that could have influenced drug use, such as psychological stress and socioeconomic status.” The researchers also found that IQ and drug-use has a stronger link in women than men.
In conclusion, the researchers noted previous studies which suggest that individuals with high IQ’s are generally more open to new experiences and more likely to seek stimulation than their slightly duller counterparts. And, “Two other traits linked with childhood intelligence — boredom and a tendency to be teased by one’s peers — could also fuel an interest in ‘using drugs as an avoidant coping strategy.’”
Of course, these results are easy to misinterpret, especially if you’re stoned, and especially-especially if you’re stoned and not in possession of an above average IQ.
So to be clear: if you’ve used marijuana or cocaine in the last 12 months, it’s not necessarily an indication that you are wildly intelligent. In fact, it may very well be an indication that you’re a moron. But, if you had a high IQ when you were age 5 or 10, that may very well be in indication that life was either too hard or too boring for you, which might make you more likely to experiment with drugs as a teenager and adult.
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