As a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London, I study the impact of drug use on the brain. Like many scientists studying these issues, the results I detect in my lab have direct implications on how we can better equip ourselves as a society to deal with drugs.
On the whole, my many years of research on substance use has taught me a major overarching lesson: we are much more likely to demonize drugs for their negative effects than consider their neutral or potentially positive impacts. Or — in scientific terms — there is a built-in bias in the scientific literature, textbooks, and popular press towards highlighting the negative aspects of drug use. And more ink has been spilled about cannabis than any other drug, perhaps because it’s the most widely used illegal drug and the subject of intense debate concerning its regulation.
Because my research focuses on neurological function, I often come across claims about cannabis’ impact on the brain. You’ve likely heard them too: claims that cannabis use lowers IQ by up to eight points, that use of the drug causes schizophrenia, and that it impairs cognitive function in the long term. What’s fascinating about these claims is that they’re almost always “based on the scientific evidence.” But is that really the case?
– Read the entire article at The Huffinton Post.