High IQ linked to drug use
November 14th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

High IQ linked to drug use

The "Just Say No" generation was often told by parents and teachers that intelligent people didn't use drugs.   Turns out, the adults may have been wrong.

A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children.  The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades.  The kids' IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16.  The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors.  Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.

Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts.  Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults.  A high IQ is defined as a score between 107 and 158.  An average IQ is 100. The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The lead researcher says he isn't surprised by the findings.  "Previous research found for the most part people with high IQs lead a healthy life, but that they are more likely to drink to excess as adults," says James White a psychologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

It's not clear why people with high childhood IQs are more likely to use illegal drugs.  "We suspect they may be more open to new experiences and are more sensation seeking," says White.  In the paper, White and his co-author also mention other studies that find high IQ kids may use drugs because they are bored or to cope with being different.

That seems to ring true for one of my childhood classmates. Tracey Helton Mitchell was one of the smartest kids in my middle school. But, by the time she was in her early 20's, Tracey was a heroin addict. I found out while flipping channels one sleepless night and stumbled upon the documentary "Black Tar Heroin."

"I was confident in my abilities but there was a dissonance," says Tracey, with whom I recently reconnected.  "No matter what I did, what I said, where I went, I was never comfortable with the shell I carried called myself."

soundoff (1,049 Responses)
  1. Utah Friday

    High IQ people use drugs as adults for one or more of the following reasons:
    1/ They can't turn their brain off at the end of the day and relax
    2/ They're frustrated from dealing with mind numbing, dumbed down policies all day long
    3/ The third one.....uh.........................................I know there was a third one.........................uh....anyone???

    November 15, 2011 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • William Demuth

      To make other people more interesting, food more delicious, women more beautiful, and life itself more meaningful

      November 15, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
  2. JoeyE


    Where in the bible does it say one can not smoke weed? Why are you even bothering to bring this up when this really isn't related to your comment? Do you feel you must shove your beliefs down others throats at every turn in the road?

    There is.. go read Roman Ch 13, it is interesting about it.. You should think before you speak.. if anyone tries to insult of anything that is not in Holy Bible that is already there.. make yourself a fool..

    November 15, 2011 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lawl

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Jesus use drugs? Alcohol is a drug.

      November 15, 2011 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
    • Right on

      You do realize the Bible was written by man? You do realize the only reason its Holy is because you say it is? In my world, the Bible is the same as every other book that was written by Man. In my world its very clear that every single God that has ever existed was created by Man.

      November 15, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
  3. hecep

    Per the report, the data was taken by asking respondants if they had used drugs within the past years. Maybe people with high IQs are just more likely to admit to drug use.

    November 15, 2011 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Bearin' Down

    LOL. An article about intelligence and a whole bunch of people trying to act intelligent in the comments. Go figure 😉

    November 15, 2011 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Bible Clown

    You know, a good strong dose of Prozac would cut that OCD of yours in half. Wouldn't you like to be able to go to Wal-Mart without having to stop people and ask them if they've been saved? I bet people run away when they see you coming right now.

    November 15, 2011 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Asklepios

      Talking to yourself again, BC ?

      November 15, 2011 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
  6. William Demuth

    LSD was my passion. In fact ANY hallucinogenic was as important to me as ALL people were. From my perception it was education in a form unavailable anywhere else.

    I was considered extremely gifted from a very early age, with all types of accolades and attention. Regrettably, it was the attention I loathed.

    November 15, 2011 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • William Demuth

      For some of us it replaces religion.

      We refuse your standrds and your beliefs from a place so deep within ourselves that we can't even PRETEND to be so indoctrinated.

      November 15, 2011 at 08:58 | Report abuse |
  7. coder

    People with high IQs – can see and understand the falsehoods put forth by the 'established' parents, politicians and religion.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bud

      There is NO form of Prohibition that makes sense!

      November 15, 2011 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
  8. Michael Schulze

    My excuse is that it makes things more of a challenge, as well as offers new perspectives. One example was a time on psychedelics when I was watching tv. It occurred to me, very powerfully, that acting was truly perverted. Now I can only watch educational television without feeling weird. I believe I also became an atheist that night.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Kevin in Atlanta

    I'm no genius, but i can tell you the only reason I used drugs was to cope with the large amount of idiots I encounter on a daily basis. If anything, drugs help me maintain my sanity.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jorge

      Seeing that you live in Georgia, as I do, I feel for you, man.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • Bible Clown

      Yeah, Georgia is special. It ain't like it used to be, but there is still 'a culture of veneration of ignorance,' as one of our leaders said when he gave up and moved away.

      November 15, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
  10. HeroicSlug

    So... people with 158+ aren't considered to have "high" IQs? Shoot. At 167, I'd always considered my IQ high. Better adjust my worldview to match this article. Regarding the topic at hand though: I Tried the wacky weed exactly twice, it just wasn't my bag. Although pretending I was variously John Cougar Mellencamp and "Worf" from Star Trek was in retrospect, darn funny. I believe at one point, I was J.C. Mellencamp singing a song about "Warrior Worf".

    November 15, 2011 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      Nobody with a 158+ would bother posting this drivel.

      Troll fail.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
    • HeroicSlug

      Nope, actually happened. Lol. Troll hunter needs to check his fire.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      "Nobody with a 158+ would bother posting this drivel."-Oh no, another child with Asperger's Syndrome is panicking because somebody rearranged the room...

      November 15, 2011 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      Jorge, now that's what I call funny. Mr. Data might even get that one.

      November 15, 2011 at 21:05 | Report abuse |
  11. Asklepios

    Disturbing rumors are now circulating, to the effect that this article was "planted" here by Mexican hackers working to ease immigration restrictions.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      If you can call your one post "circulating.", I suppose so then.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • Asklepios

      Actually, Mark, it was satire.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
  12. Bud

    After Unkle Sugar's gang, I partook of cannabis and other psychedelics. Plus, during that time, I received TWO Ph.Ds and a Juris Doctorate. I'm a Airplane/Helicopter Flight Instructor and hold Amateur Extra FCC ratings. Is there something I was supposed to miss??? Prohibition only makes one more and more stupid. Case in point...Kerli!

    November 15, 2011 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. William Demuth

    Drug use is just our way of saying we will live our lives as we see fit.

    Your rules have been rejected, my life, my mind, and my body are to do with as I see fit, and their isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

    Party on dudes!

    November 15, 2011 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sandra

      And yet, you still can't spell "there."

      December 5, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
  14. Marc Perkel

    Drugs can make you smarter if you take the right drugs. Smoking pot for example increases certain abilities. LSD is what make Steve Job have the vision at Apple. This article would make more sense if the asked high IQ people WHY they did drugs ans WHAT drugs they did.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marc Perkel

      And – my IQ is 161 – smoke pot and have done LSD. And I can tell you that it works. It makes you smarter. If you google my name you can see what I've accomplished and much of it is a direct result of using.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      People will always use their recreational intoxicant of choice.

      And as we've seen prohibition does absolutely nothing to prevent that. Prohibition just makes violence.

      People have been using drugs for recreational enjoyment since the beginning of mankind.

      Addictions need to be dealt with through the medical and mental health systems rather than prisons.

      People who get addicted to "hard" drugs have underlying issues that need to be treated through the medical system.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse |
    • Asklepios

      Marc Perkel, the guy who keeps getting kicked off Wikipedia ?

      Shirley you jest.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Perhaps the smart people use drugs as an escape from the frustration of dealing with all of the stupid people around them. There's certainly no shortage of morons out there!

      November 15, 2011 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      "LSD is what make Steve Job have the vision at Apple." Lol ok there Mr. 161.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:39 | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      Everyone wants to use drugs, it's just smart people usual have more discipline and don't become junkies like weak dumb people. Moderation

      November 15, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • Asklepios

      "Perhaps the smart people use drugs as an escape from the frustration of dealing with all of the stupid people around them."

      That's as good a rationalization for an undisciplined lifestyle as any.

      But a good dose of Epictetus would be much better for them. Put on your no-excuses jeans and give him a try.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • MGD

      The ability to ask questions and existential crisis.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • geeeno

      "high IQ kids may use drugs . . . to cope with being different"

      whether you're smarter than the crowd or you're dumber than the crowd, the cognitive dissonance is hard to deal with unless you meet up with kindred spirits, for social exchange. hi IQ people get burned out having to dumb down their language and ideas for average folk.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Drugs may have made you smarter, but they definitely have had an impact on your ability to write well (as demonsrated by your on-line blogs). Take some of that money you use on pot and LSD and buy a book on spelling and grammar. You need those more than you need to get high again.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
    • twiddly

      If Perkel was the least bit intelligent he would not have a website that is circa early 90's, how pathetic!

      November 15, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse |
    • Pablo

      My iq is at lest 2000 and ive dicovered that hi ons ... what was i sayin agian?

      November 15, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Eric, you nailed it exactly!

      November 15, 2011 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
    • tatsuke

      Sincerely smart people don't go around bragging about his or her IQ.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
  15. Nicole

    107 is a high IQ? I thought that was well inside the range of typical (which isn't a bad thing). In 2nd grade I scored ridiculously high on an IQ test (high enough that I think the number would not reflect my adult IQ), and although I've never used drugs I've had my share of... issues which I suspect are related to being the kid who knew too much too soon and couldn't turn off her brain.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • William Demuth

      Lets make some babies, the world needs us!

      November 15, 2011 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      IQ tests score your level of intelligence at your current age group. To be considered highly gifted as a child you need to score over 145.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • nick2

      IQ tests are extremely approximate. Thus the large range. They depend not only on the physical state of the person (amount of sleep etc) but also the tests themselves are only really accurae if many ae given to the same person – since they tend to test different reactions in different pars of the cognitive abilities of the brain.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
    • tatsuke

      This article is "wrong"? It's a statistical study. It can't be "wrong" unless the methodology is flawed. The study merely states that people with measurably higher than average IQs had a higher incidence of drug use. It doesn't say "ALL", and can't be extrapolated to the population at large without serious qualifiers. It's a study.

      Of course, as a highly intelligent person, you knew that.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
  16. Michael Fox

    This is wrong in so many ways. I've seen a lot of people get hooked on drugs, and intelligence was no factor in how it messed up lives. yet being the intelligent person that I am, I'll continue to stay away from drugs despite what the article says.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TomCoffingiii

      Clearly you aren't intelligent enough to get the point of the article.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
    • Michael W.

      They're not talking about you Michael. This is statisics.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • claygooding

      Everyone blames the drugs for messing up peoples lives when most of the harm to peoples lives caused by drugs is done by prohibition. When you turn the manufacturing of drugs over to criminals that could care less what their concoctions do to you,,your health risks go up more by every step the drugs take to get to you.

      Then there is the harm done to people by the law,,families ripped apart,,people's ability to furnish for their families or even get help when needed.

      You figure it out,,the only people not using drugs are the dead,,,

      November 15, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
  17. Mr. Hand

    I think part of the problem we have with the whole issue of illegal drugs is there is far too much disinformation spread around. For example we're afraid to admit that marijuana is far less destructive to society than alcohol so we find it easier to spread fear based misinformation and criminalize people who use it. When we criminalize people they have become officially defective in the eyes of society. This makes it easier to marginalize and dismiss them, their opinions, and their values. Then when studies like this come out it gets challenged and attacked because it doesn’t align with the lies we tell ourselves. The drug war propaganda we have been fed has biased us such that we don’t see much difference between drug users and drug abusers when in reality they are two very different animals.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kevin in Atlanta

      Well said sir, well said...

      November 15, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      You are SO wrong! I've seen Reefer Madness. I know the truth!

      November 15, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
    • Bill Logan

      Uh Mr hand if we are here as well then is it now our time? And what is wrong with having a little snack on our time....

      Dude what was that.... Uh I think that was the bell

      November 15, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      Markin, You know nothing. Unless you see the colorized version with commentary by Mike Nelson.

      Play faster, faster . . .

      November 15, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Garrison

      Bad Mr. Hand!

      November 15, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Slave

      Oh, Jesus Christ!

      November 15, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
  18. Jimbo

    It's because they are smart enough to realize that smoking a hit or two at the end of the day is less harmful for your body and brain then drinking a six pack of beer. They see right through the propoganda and fear the government spews, they are smart enough to make their own decisions instead of just obeying a system they know is flawed. They put their trust in themselves instead of bowing down to a group of higher ups.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bruce

      You are close. I think the super intelligent many times are also super arrogant and feel that the rules whether natural or manmade do not apply to them. They really believe that THEY can handle the drug not like the poor slobs below them.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Ummmm alcohol is a drug therefore the article is referencing that as well.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:17 | Report abuse |
  19. Mark

    Intelligent people are more likely to see the things that are wrong with this society and feel a great sense of powerlessness/sadness over it. Escapism is very tempting and may even be necessary to maintain one's sanity.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Julie


      November 15, 2011 at 09:39 | Report abuse |
    • jw

      I think you may be right about htis. I am a HSP (highly sensitive person) like my nerve endings are right on my skin....and I am an artist with a high IQ......sometimes a blessing sometimes difficult.....i feel so much.....that having a few drinks from time to time is a great escape....(though I dont do hard drugs). I can understand why highly intelligent people sometimes would need an escape...from boredom or a feeling of helplessness , as they can see things in a different way in the world. Just my two cents worth.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse |

      I can agree with that one.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Anyone who uses a substance to escape reality is mentally inferior.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:18 | Report abuse |
    • David

      JW- Ugh....you are all just over thinking this.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      The exasperation of knowing that no one else can see what's so obvious certainly does not help matters.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
  20. Michael Fox

    Okay, I see the issue. Calling 107 a high IQ. And then putting a cap at 158. I have to call this very bad journalism.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BioHzrd420

      Actually it has nothing to do with journalism as the writer didn't decide what standards to set for measurements in the study. The researchers did. The writer just reported it.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse |
    • bczu

      Anything after 100 is considered gifted.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL


      Don't think so.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse |
    • Garnet69


      Having an IQ of 100 means you have the intelligence of the typical person your own age. Having an IQ of 110 means you have the intelligence of the typical person 10% older than you. IQ of 120.....20% older....and so on.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • HeroicSlug

      Garnet69: No. Very no. 110 = 10% older than you? I presume drugs have helped you come up with this creative piece of crap?

      November 15, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • Garnet69


      The term ‘intelligence quotient’ was first coined in 1912 by German psychologist, William Stern in reference to the intelligence tests developed by psychologists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, who wanted to identify students that needed special help with the school curriculum. The original formula for calculating IQ was:
      (mental age divided by chronological age) x 100

      In other words, a person’s intelligence level was measured as a quotient of their estimated mental age and chronological age. A 10-year-old child that had the mental age of a 12-year-old was considered to have an above average IQ of 120 [(12/10) x 100]

      November 15, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
  21. humtake

    This is kind of common sense if you live in middle-class America. I know of many "smart kids" who were sheltered their whole life, and then when they graduated and got out on their own they were introduce to the party lifestyle and they go way overboard.

    I still believe that you can't shelter a kid if you want them to go through their teenage years and learn everything there is to learn. They have to learn important skills as well as learn what the real world is about. If you take away their ability to learn about the real world, you are just hurting them because at some point they will learn that cannabis isn't harmful; going out and getting drunk isn't going to kill you if you do it responsibly; sometimes experimenting can be fun on a night of after-hours partying. It's all about doing things responsibly and not going overboard.

    By the time the "smart kids" are out of the house, they are way too open to new experiences. And once they find a high they like and nobody is there to tell them to keep away from it, a lot of them do not have the willpower to stop.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BioHzrd420

      You're just making an assumption. I know many smart kids that were not sheltered at all. I know my parents didn't lock me in a room to study away from society. I studied then hung out with my friends and smoked many a doobie.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
  22. Don't draw the wrong conclusion...

    The High IQ leads to more drug use. Not the otherway around.
    From the actual study's abstract:
    Conclusion High childhood IQ may increase the risk of illegal drug use in adolescence and adulthood.

    No conclusion on benefits of drug use is provided, at least in the abstract. Don't assume it's there.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BioHzrd420

      I never assumed benefits/downsides of drugs were part of the study. Why would I? Without reading the abstract and taking what I gather from the article, the researchers were focused on whether there was a relationship with childhood IQ and drug use. Simple as that.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse |
  23. asdfjkl;

    One must first question the IQ of the person that did this study.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BioHzrd420

      Their IQ or research background? Nobody asks their professors what their IQ is, but their sure do ask their research credentials and published works.

      November 15, 2011 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
  24. blaurelian

    Given the gist of the article, we should either legalize all types of drugs or criminalize intelligence.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Steven

    Mostly anyone with any IQ has the possibility of doing drugs.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Garnet69

    I am ADD with a high IQ and I drink (not to excess, but a couple glasses of wine every night to help me sleep). My son is ADHD and has an even higher IQ than I have. There is a higher "risk" of ADD/ADHD if you have a higher IQ. However, it is not a cause and effect relationship. Having ADD doesn't necessarily mean you will have a high IQ, but if you have a high IQ, you have an increased chance of having ADD/ADHD.

    I don't see ADD as a curse, I see it as a blessing if managed correctly. Many of our greatest inventors, business leaders and social innovators are ADD/ADHD.

    I also enjoy high risk/high thrill activities such as cave diving, driving fast and rugby. I kept my thrill seeking on a physical level and never tried drugs beyond pot (and minimally at that).

    For the record, Ritalyn, Adderall and most other ADD medications are Amphetamine based. These drugs actually calm us down where they would hype up a non-ADD person. Our brains are wired and bio-chemically different from non-ADD brains so drugs have a different effect.

    My son takes several medications, because most ADD/ADHD people have other issues (depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, etc.) and I will do everything in my power to keep him away from medication of the illicit variety. I grew up in the 70's when ADD was rarely medicated. I sometimes think of what I could have become if I were medicated as a child. I have had success in life, but still wonder what if.....

    November 15, 2011 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • T3chsupport

      When I was a kid, my mom 'medicated' my ADD with... espresso! Triple mocha for me, then I was out like a light.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
  27. Mark

    This is a crap article written by journalist that has no understanding of how to report these types of studies! There's a large IQ range stated (107-158), but no information on the proportion or relationship between IQ and drug use. It simply states that people above a certain IQ are more likely to use drugs which tells me absolutely nothing.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Billy K

    @Mr. Hand – dude you summed it up! Let's see, if you smoke pot you support terrorists, ergo you are evil. But if you drink Lite Beer "responsibly" you will "man-up".

    November 15, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Sam

    The people who are assuming that this article is claiming that drug use makes you smarter are missing the point. Let me spell it out... They were "smart" first, then they used drugs. Not that they used drugs and then got more intelligent. Try to carry on an extended conversation with your average pot head or meth addict to see how the end result turned out. Common sense people.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IQU

      Read between the lines also. Once people discovered the inquisitive properties that cannabinoids unleashed in their brains, they quickly realized that they were intelligent too, and open minded and calm. And went on to live unselfish, healthy, productive lives and relationships. And gained perspective and patience, and became better sons and fathers. They also realized, that the line between use and abuse is a fine one. And became responsible, wich is an inseparable ally of intelligence. Isn't this what America needs now: intelligent, inquisitive, responsible individuals?

      November 15, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
  30. E

    Please note that the study (J Epidemiol Community Health doi:10.1136/jech-2011-200252 ) is a cohort design.

    Meaning it is a snapshot of people 1) at specific time periods (1970-1980's and 2000's), 2) at specific time points (childhood up to 10 years old for IQ and then 16 and 29-30 years old for drugs), and 3) of a select group (British born in April 1970).

    There are many factors from culture and from society that most likely influenced the results. For example, the opinion on drug use was (and some may still is) changing drastically during that time. No matter how good their statistical analysis, removing these factors would be nigh impossible for the researchers. They would not be able to isolate a pure connection between childhood IQ and later drug use from the background culture of that time.

    Meaning, the study is a nice window on that time period and group of people (on childhood IQ -> later drug use, NOT drug use -> childhood IQ; time and conditional elements). But nothing more.

    It can not and should not be extended to explain how later generations and other cultures might behave.

    P.S. For those arguing they should have picked a higher IQ score than 107, they chose that number based on a 1-standard deviation analysis for the group. An acceptable analysis. Randomly picking numbers or using baseless cutoffs from other groups would have been arbitrary and unacceptable.

    As a challenge, how do we define "normal" or other categories for IQ, temperature, etc.? I'll give you a hint. It's not simply averages.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • E

      and some may still is = and some *say still is

      November 15, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
  31. nick2

    I think the study may make some sense. Certainly, many people with lower IQs are more likely to let others do their thinking for them, preferring to latch on to 'intelligent' thought with emotional bonds rather than cognitive ones.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Cody

    Maybe, it's because intelligent people are willing to research the effects of the drug, and they realize it is not as harmful as society implies. Just because people tell you something does not make it true.

    Research and discover things for yourself. Don't take anything at face value. There are so many white lies and half-truths that I hear on a daily basis that it is sickening.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dave

    What a revelation, let's round up all the homeless addicts put them in a think tank and solve all the world's problems!

    November 15, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. TheFatherofLies

    I'm blown away by the volatility of this subject. The all or nothing moralistic view on drugs is as antiquated as our society's rampant consumption of them. With an IQ of 100 being average, it should come as no surprise that people with anything higher would sometimes have the intellectual curiosity to try drugs, if for no reason other than to inform themselves of the effects. Some people are sensation seekers, others are not. Some of these sensation seekers possess startling intelligence. Why is this so controversial? Are people so simplistic as to think that only the wicked and the stupid use or abuse drugs?

    November 15, 2011 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Phil in KC

    "Average" people don't like people who are different. They prefer others like themselves. So they marginalize those who are 'different'. If you're not like us, there must be something wrong with you. They also don't like being told that are not as smart as someone else, so they resent those who are truly intelligent. Instead of learning from these people, we cast them aside. No wonder they turn to drugs.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JC

    Are there any studies where drug users were asked to take another IQ test and compare the latest results with those when they were younger?

    November 15, 2011 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Franky

    I could have told them this. People who are smarter tend to be more liberal or rather experiment more. Why because it's simply another mode of stimulation, curiousity, or information gathering. More over you they tend to question what authorities tell them more to determine truth. For example, you usually find most people who are athiest or agnostic as intelligent, why because to them their logical side simply tells them religion makes no logical sense. They question it's basic premise, gather information, and then decide it's non-sense. As opposed to someone who is less intelligent, it's not to say, that non-intelligent people don't use drugs , or that non-intelligent people aren't athiest , it's simply put an intelligent mind questions, prods, and seeks to definitively find answers as opposed to simply accepting what is told.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Joe

    Irresponsible journalism and research there is nothing in there about the correlations between high IQ and disposable income, hence more money to spend on "recreational" drugs.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. smartperson


    November 15, 2011 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. JJ

    The answer to this is obvious. The picture depicts someone smoking pot, and people who own an IQ above body temperature know that the only reason pot is illegal is because some newspaper chump wanted to make it so. The level of idiocy required to continue believing this even after seeing all the evidence is akin to the level of idiocy required to continue believing some old fool with a white beard lives in the sky, and you think he knows -everything- (including every single one of the thoughts you will have across your entire life) and you still think he gives you free will. Get the picture?

    November 15, 2011 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Joe Paterno

    Looks like I should have smoked more pot!

    November 15, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Bill Logan

    Finally someone saw it right. Yes I have an IQ that is off the charts Yes it was 150 during school the last IQ test I took came back at a 162 and yes I am completely functional I have a high (hehehe) end computer programming job and I smoke dope. Yes it did help me deal with the frustration of seeing the answer to a problem before the equation was even fully written. Also to deal with the reg IQ people who all march to the same drummer.... I do not get high ever during the day but at home well I do partake and it is none of your business it does keep me calm and did cause me to make my first invention... One that got stolen during college by my teacher but hey whatever, I am worth just a touch over 1 million dollars this is due to the fact that by watching certain economic indicators it becomes plain as day and is very easy to predict....

    November 15, 2011 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Stonefree

    I had an IQ test while being stoned and it was 134. I'm not sure if I was dummied up or down...lol

    November 15, 2011 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill Logan

      Yes I took the SAT's stoned and scored a 1347... the first time I took them not stoned and scored a 1252... I took a special test for advanced mathematics during high school got the second highest score in the country... Predicted black Tuesday and predicted this current mess / recession,,, all of the normal people that know me call me a waste... Ah well party on dudes

      November 15, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
  44. RudimentStan

    You want to know why we take drugs and drink to much? To try and get a little reprieve from living in world filled with idiots much like yourselves. Sometimes I wish I was stupid, living in blissful ignorance of the world around me and happy...but then who would be around to herd you sheep?

    November 15, 2011 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Willard

    I think Einstein's quote about human stupidity is relevant here.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aacon

      mmm Einstein used tobacco,nicotine.Try a patch if you don`t smoke.It actually mellows you out.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse |
  46. aacon

    The use because they know their lives are short,so they choose to live more abundantly.

    November 15, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. sam

    Oh yea sure,and booze gives you a higher iq right ? Yea sure it does,what BUNK

    November 15, 2011 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. roopaloop

    Does anyone else see the potential for survivorship bias in this study? Does it mean that all intelligent people do drugs? How many dumb people do drugs? What about the sampling error? This makes no sense.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. alateos

    I'm not sure how significant it is to see this correlation. An IQ test is nothing more than a test that is narrowly defined in scope and measures only a small part of human intelligence.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. American Citizen

    This article was posted because a very bright law student with a high IQ was a former participant in a drug bust that included officers of the law. Oh well.

    No – drug use is not linked to a high IQ. It is linked to criminally-acting crack-addict judges that sit behind the bench affecting the law of the land, however. That is a very serious problem.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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