Marijuana Study Tying Teens' Pot Use To I.Q. Drop Is Flawed, New Paper Suggests

Anytime you see a highly-publicized study that claims to have absolute proof that marijuana is harmful, be suspicious, very suspicious. There are hundreds of millions of dollars available from the federal government for researchers who seek to find damage caused by regular marijuana use. Some are honest scientists (like Dr. Donald Tashkin) who do research to find harm and instead find benefits which they report without self-censorship while others are what I term "researchstitutes" who work to support an agenda not the free discovery of knowledge. They tailor study protocols and select patient populations in order to have the best chance of producing dire results, and yet, time after time they come up with data that indicates benefits. It is almost certain that many of these misfires have never seen the light of day because as one investigator stated, you don't get funding to continue studies which show benefits. Upon closer investigation, the scary conclusions are frequently discredited, as we apparently see here. Thank goodness for honest scientists. Marijuana Study Tying Teens' Pot Use To I.Q. Drop Is Flawed, New Paper Suggests

By MALCOLM RITTER 01/14/13 03:47 PM ET EST AP

NEW YORK — A new analysis is challenging a report that suggests regular marijuana smoking during the teen years can lead to a long-term drop in IQ. The analysis says the statistical analysis behind that conclusion is flawed.

The original study, reported last August, included more than 1,000 people who'd been born in the town of Dunedin, New Zealand. Their IQ was tested at ages 13 and 38, and they were asked about marijuana use periodically between those ages.

Researchers at Duke University and elsewhere found that participants who'd reported becoming dependent on pot by age 18 showed a drop in IQ score between ages 13 and 38. The findings suggest pot is harmful to the adolescent brain, the researchers said.

Not so fast, says an analysis published online Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ole Rogeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Oslo, says the IQ trend might have nothing to do with pot. Rather, it may have emerged from differences among the study participants in socioeconomic status, or SES, which involves factors like income, education and occupation, he says.

He based his paper on a computer simulation. It traced what would happen to IQ scores over time if they were affected by differences in SES in ways suggested by other research, but not by smoking marijuana. He found patterns that looked just like what the Duke study found.

In an interview, Rogeberg said he's not claiming that his alternative explanation is definitely right, just that the methods and evidence in the original study aren't enough to rule it out. He suggested further analyses the researchers could do.

via Marijuana Study Tying Teens' Pot Use To I.Q. Drop Is Flawed, New Paper Suggests.

Does Marijuana Reduce Dating Violence? When Data is Hidden to Conform to an Ideological Agenda, Science Suffers

From the "What Remains Unreported" department: Here is a study of dating violence and the use of illicit drugs and alcohol as a predictor of this terrible behavior. The study essentially concludes that alcohol and HARD DRUG use predict dating violence. But where is the data on marijuana use? Why am I suspicious that marijuana use was associated with a reduction in the likelihood of committing dating violence? Perhaps because so many studies intended to find harm from marijuana use instead show benefits--mentally, physically and socially--and all too often those values go unreported or the researchers try to find a way to dismiss or mask those findings. I hope to get the full report on this and see if I can find out what the researchers learned about marijuana and dating violence, anyone want to wager against my assertion that they found a decrease? J Youth Adolesc. 2012 Nov 28. [Epub ahead of print] Substance Use as a Longitudinal Predictor of the Perpetration of Teen Dating Violence. Temple JR, Shorey RC, Fite P, Stuart GL, Le VD. Source

Behavioral Health and Research, Department of Ob/Gyn, UTMB Health, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX, 77555-0587, USA, jetemple@utmb.edu. Abstract

The prevention of teen dating violence is a major public health priority. However, the dearth of longitudinal studies makes it difficult to develop programs that effectively target salient risk factors. Using a school-based sample of ethnically diverse adolescents, this longitudinal study examined whether substance use (alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs) and exposure to parental violence predicted the perpetration of physical dating violence over time. 1,042 9th and 10th grade high schools students were recruited and assessed in the spring of 2010, and 93 % of the original sample completed the 1-year follow-up in the spring of 2011. Participants who had begun dating at the initial assessment and who self-identified as African American (n = 263; 32 %), Caucasian (n = 272; 33 %), or Hispanic (n = 293; 35 %) were included in the current analyses (n = 828; 55 % female). Slightly more than half of the adolescents who perpetrated dating violence at baseline reported past year dating violence at follow-up, relative to only 11 % of adolescents who did not report perpetrating dating violence at baseline. Structural equation modeling revealed that the use of alcohol and hard drugs at baseline predicted the future perpetration of physical dating violence, even after accounting for the effects of baseline dating violence and exposure to interparental violence. Despite differences in the prevalence of key variables between males and females, the longitudinal associations did not vary by gender. With respect to race, exposure to mother-to-father violence predicted the perpetration of dating violence among Caucasian adolescents. Findings from the current study indicate that targeting substance use, and potentially youth from violent households, may be viable approaches to preventing the perpetration of teen dating violence.