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 (1,112 Responses)
  1. srichey

    High IQ, but low EQ? I would like to know about the EQ of the drug users also.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Not All Docs Play Golf

    That's because low IQ people are "drunk in the Lord." If we counted religion as the drug that it is, the low IQ people would dominate the stats.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jerry

      Well that is an opinion. Which I respect. But just for your information, I smoke pot and I don't let it run my life and I am still a Christian. Are you saying if you use a substance that you don't believe in the Lord and Savior? Do catholics drink?

      November 15, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
  3. David

    This may not sound politically correct or sensitive, but it may be that children with higher IQ's are more aware of themselves and their environment, and find it harder to truly relate to other people, because not many people "get" them and the things that they think about. This may end up causing loneliness, or worse... and then the drugs come in as a way to cope. I have avoided drugs, and will continue to do so, I have seen too many awful things happen to people who use them... but I can see that scenario as a possibility. Or it could just be that since the population of high IQ scorers is smaller, and usually end up being more travelled, or more exposed to a higher number of people and ideas, that it is purely coincidental and these statistics do not reflect any physiological difference, merely a social one...

    November 15, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. donrijo

    They might not be low IQ but they are very mentaly disturbed with impaired judgement. This is also true of alcoholics.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. BanishedJester

    Perhaps one reason people with high IQs like myself and many others continue to use drugs is that we LIKE to think. Getting lost in philosophy and thought is a frequent enjoyable endeavor. The puppet masters do not want us smoking pot because it encourages thinking. Of course we are not a nation who has been well-trained to think but rather to watch sports, to spend money, to acquire jobs, to buy degrees. We are not encouraged to think freely or study mathematics and science because the are "hard" or "scary." Another reason for using drugs as an intelligent person is to relieve some of the dispair I see when I pick my head up and look around at all the dumb fcks strolling around lost in materialism and delusion. Rather than exposing children to reality we put them in public schools and force feed them what we expect of the world.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Student

    Wow, what a stupid article. Correlation is not causation. One possible alternative theory (of many):

    Smart people tend to make more money. Your access to drugs, especially to high-strength highly addictive drugs, is directly proportional to your income. Cocaine and heroin are NOT cheap. Even with "cheaper" drugs like marijuana and booze, higher income gives you access to higher purity, more addictive stuff. The cheaper drugs that poor folk and struggling college students get is "cut" – that is, diluted – and thus also less addictive. The expensive stuff is "cut" too, but not as much.

    If you aren't familiar with the materials used to "cut" drugs, do yourself a favor and don't look it up. It's pretty gross.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Asklepios

    Don't get yourself that this sensationalistic headline represents an honest search for scientific truth.

    "High IQ linked to drug use"

    By implication, then, the clean and sober, self disciplined lifestyle is linked to stupidity.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Asklepios

      Don't kid yourself, I meant.

      Honest typos quickly become the fodder of amateur comedians.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
  8. Joseph B

    Did they ask whether the individuals were in jobs that required drug testing? Did they ask about having the means to purchase drugs? If people with higher IQ are more successful (read more money) and less likely to have jobs that require drug testing (less restrictions) I would expect they would take more drugs.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. S. Brown

    What this study shows is that foolishness crosses all boundaries of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and intelligence.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. monah_ltx

    They are just looking for a way to dumb themselves down.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kleb

    Intelligent people have less tolerance for BS, and "just say no" is clearly a sham.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. T3chsupport

    Having an increased ability to figure things out does not bring one peace. Too many thoughts too fast = stress.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. rep

    Funny. I tested pretty high in h.s. and college...Went to top schools, got advanced degrees, etc.
    Now I'm in my late 30's and I party harder than almost all my friends–who, by choice, tend to be about 10 years younger. My rationale was just that I started later. Most of them got it out of their systems when they were much younger. I didn't even drink until I'd finished grad school and was 35 before trying marijuana. I tried a few more things since but I stick to alcohol in general. Frankly, I still feel like I missed out on a lot for having waited so long. Oh well...better late than never!

    November 15, 2011 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Katherine

    To Millions around the globe, Pot is not an illegal drug. GO after the crackheads that get violent and nuts. MJ is peaceful and natural when you have a drug or anything that relaxes you, you dont have resistance and when you let go of resistance, answers come.

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

      rolling eyes. you have been brainwashed. the whole "lazy guy still living with his parents" thing is a wivestale spun by the government. do you also think smoking makes you jump out of windows and dance with the black folk? its all the same nonsense. many people eat or vaporize so smoking isnt a concern. And are you aware the police officer, lawyer, IT tech, judge, etc all smoke weed? i bet you dont have a problem with a cup of coffe or a beer with dinner? whats the difference.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • adam

      @Rolling Eyes I think she meant to millions around the world (i.e. in other countries), it is not an illegal drug. Which is true.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Ok Rolling Eyes, just keep holding on to that stereotype. Believe it or not there are productive people that have used pot or other drugs. Steve Jobs was a pretty productive dude

      November 15, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • samadams

      I agree with all the positive things you said about mj. It is, unfortunately and contrary to your statement, an illegal drug.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
    • Hittingislazyparenting

      Must be one of those sub-par IQ non drug using types. When you're done talking to that uncle go talk to one of the millions of law abiding, hard working pot smokers if you care to challenge your lazy assumptions. And if you actually read the post he said that for millions in OTHER countries it's not illegal. Reading comprehension...we stoners scored high on it...you should try it sometime.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
    • Reefer

      Reefer madness is real, Ive seen people go completely crazy. No wonder America is in financial problems, none of these people can work or even function cause of the devils weed. All they do is masterbate and murder and rape people. Then they say they are relaxing. Evil people, evil drug.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      @murder They also did a study that keyboard warriors land trolls end up as cannibalists...true story

      November 15, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Ancient Curse

      I think the responses to Catherine's post prove the point of the article above. Nicely done, folks!

      November 15, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Nadbash

      More reactionary nonsense. I've never smoked marijuana, exclusively because it is illegal. I've observed its effects on most of my friends, and have found that the worst thing that happens is they get really intensely annoying. They still hold jobs down, in fact some of them are very hard workers, doing things as complicated as computer engineering and as blue collar as construction, none of them have lost their jobs due to marijuana usage. It's less addictive than tobacco, caffeine and alcohol. I think the federal government should have bigger things to deal with than someone binging on cheetos and being relaxed for a few hours once in a while.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
    • BoondockSaint

      Regardless of stereotypes, I think its logically clear that any sort of thought derived from being high isn't anything that you couldn't have come up with while sober. The only difference is if you smoke pot you've spent money, done something illegal (in the States), and in some cases damaged your health (smoke inhalation) when you could have simply taken some time out of your day to consider things with a sober, acute mind for free and without risk or financial loss.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • mountainDude

      @RollingEyes – y'know what? My brother is a 50 year old unemployed loser pothead living with his mama. And my best friend is a tenured research professor at a major university who regularly puts in 60-80 hour weeks, receives several million dollars in research grants yearly and just started his own business. Oh, and also smokes a lot of pot. The difference between them? My brother was a lazy loser before he lit his first joint and would continue to be if he quit tomorrow. It's not the weed. People who use pot as an excuse for why they never accomplished anything other than warming a couch cushion watching cartoons weren't really going to accomplish much more than that anyway. And unfortunately those are the people mostly associated with pot smoking because people with jobs and families and lives and goals keep it in the closet. Everyone knows my brother smokes weed. Almost no one knows my friend does.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • YouthoftheNextGeneration

      It is a complicated issue no doubt. There are users and abusers and violent outliers, but in the end when you compare it to the other legal drugs, pot is much safer by a long shot. The ignorant amoung us who have never used drugs use fear to control people and tell them not to do certain things. They follow like sheep to the football games drinking beer and hard liqour. It is THOSE people that are more numerous and have control because their drug is sanctioned by the government.

      Those people offend me more than any pot smoking person. "OH LETS GET DRUNK AND GO TO THE FOOTBALL GAME MAN!!! I AM STILL GOOD TO DRIVE!!"

      It makes me cringe when I see that alchohol and tabacco are legal but pot is not. Hilarious. What needs to happen is that a corporation needs to start lobbying for the legalization of pot and offer an IPO offering to congressmen (like the alcohol and tabacco lobbies do). Maybe then we could actually get some progress.

      To those that say pot should still be illegal... YOU ARE SHEEP. GO DRINK YOUR BEER, WATCH SOME FOOTBALL AND SHUT UP, the adults needs to talk.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • JT

      Sh&t is natural too but I don't see anyone smoking it. Cop out for bad behavior.

      November 15, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • V

      The problem is that the study does not test the IQ of the adults after exposure to drugs......

      November 15, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Long Beach, California

      to all the naysayers, YOU CANNOT STOP IT! More and more smoke each day without any debilitating affects......potheads be over soon to burn with you in your house.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • Max

      Heroin is peaceful and almost natural. So when you say To do it because it relaxes me, the only answers I've always gotten when i was shooting up was to do more! What am I doing wrong then Spiritual Guru. Smoking pot is like drinking coffee its a cheap high. If you want answers LSD or LSA will tell you. It might not be the answers you're looking for, but you'll get them. Crackheads should be banned too, they're the worse people. Oh wait actually drunks commit more crimes than all other drug addicts combined.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • UFC iTard

      Legality of marijuana has ZERO to do with your health.
      Tobacco is responsible for over 40% of hospital illnesses in the United States.
      Alcohol is responsible for over 50% of all ER visits.
      They are both legal.
      Marijuana is illegal because hemp is a huge threat to the oil and lumber industries.
      The fibers from cannabis are some of the strongest natural fibers in the world and can be used to make rope, sails, and paper among other things.
      The plant can also be manipulated to create biofuels and plastics.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • BruceNY

      Well, first let's just be clear on the fact that while IQ tries to measure intelligence, this number is not a measurement of your capacity to survive, and survival is the bottom line. That's why I'm not sure the correlation is even relevant. I mean there are some very intelligent people in this world who stick a needle full of bacteria crap (botox) in their face and call it anti-aging therapy. Others prescribe FDA approved semi-synthetic heroin to their patients all day long and call it pain management.
      My instinct tells me these are not good solutions, but what do I know: I have an average IQ and therefore am unaware of what's good for me....

      November 15, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • 7o3y

      I smoke alot of marijuana and im not living with my parents or jobless...im in the medical business and am not suprised by the results of the study..anyone who says weed is the reason 45 yr olds live at home still are ignorant.Alcohol and Cigarettes are the leading ANYTHING in deaths and they are legal...goes to show you how frigged up our government is on whats legal and not.

      November 15, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
    • Rolling Jays

      @RollingEyes is one of those low IQ people the article talks about, unfortunately.

      November 15, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • KenSanDiego

      People with above average intelligence realize that cannabis is not the 'evil weed' people of lower intelligence try and force you to believe. Unfortunately people of lower intelligence believe what they are told without investigating it for themselves. A good example is the speed with which hoaxes are spread on Facebook.

      Legalization of cannabis does nothing but help the economy and allow government to regulate it's permissible use. And to those of you who still believe it is illegal, I will be happy to take you to one of the thousands of dispensaries in my state, in the middle of the day, so you can watch me make my selection from a variety of merchandise, pay the cashier, receive a receipt and walk happily out the door of the office building with my purchase. No boogy men waiting to slap the cuffs on me.

      The study is a sham. Any study putting cannabis alongside heroin to determine 'drug use' is skewed. People, you are being force fed lies by your own government and you are gobbling it down. They produced 'Reefer Madness'. That has proven to be the biggest hoax of them all.

      November 15, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      @matt steve jobs was a drug addict. he used LCD and other drugs. dont talk

      November 15, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Confusion

      So some drugs are really safe? Why aren't there teachers or commercials or even the president talking about this? For all of my living years, I was told they were bad. Everyone saids so, not once have I actually heard some are good. I'm what you call a "stupid teenager" but is this,what have I always belived in, a lie?

      November 15, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  15. mkuske

    While having a high IQ certain has its benefits, it is also extremely taxing in day to day life. In almost every group situation, the high IQ individual is expected to have the answer to practically everything for practically everybody. Even when working on fairly simple tasks people will "check in" with the high IQ individual just to make sure their solution is right.

    One can't get away from it either. It takes people very little time to figure out who the "smart ones" are and begin relying on those high IQ individuals for their logic and decision making abilities. Unless one has sociopathic tendencies, this can create a lot of pressure to always have the right answer for everyone.

    While I may have an issue with the notion that high IQ starts with 107 - to me, high IQ would start at around 120 and gifted around 140 - a higher IQ is related to other issues associated with drug use. Studies have shown that high IQ people suffer more from isolation, unhealthy perfectionism, existential depression (depression rooted in questions of existence, the kind that doesn't readily go away because you got over splitting up with your boyfriend), and existential anxiety. While I don't use drugs as an adult, it doesn't shock me that others do.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Happens all the time!!! And then people wonder why I'm exhausted at the end of the day....

      November 15, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • tuttysan

      You nailed it about the existential anxiety! Reading, writing and yoga/meditation have helped me with that.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • ToadInAustin

      I supposedly have an IQ of 140, or so it was measured when I was young, which was a long time ago. I consider IQ, if anything, a measure of potential; by the time you're an adult, it's irrelevant. You don't need a paper-test measure of a person's potential to use their brain to create or achieve when they are already out there creating and achieving–just look at what they're doing.

      A person with relatively high, but not all THAT high, an intelligence, like me, can find it frustrating being acutely aware of what they don't have. Just suppose for the sake of argument that IQ numbers mean something. A person with an IQ of 140 knows full well that there are people with IQs of 180 or 200 and that s/he is not one of them. I suppose that could lead to a certain form of depression, if you let it. But all that is not why I use drugs. I use drugs for fun.

      Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever, at 6 ft 6 in. He needed all that height, but he didn't need more. Intelligence is a lot like height. You just got to get out and scrap around with what you got.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      I completely agree. I can see why these kids might do it, considering I'm one myself. Although I don't see myself falling to peer pressure anytime within my lifetime, at least I can understand why this is happening.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      II think you've hit on something here. The first thing that came to mind when I read the results of this study was existentialism. I remember when I first had my a-ha moment at the tender age of 7 (in no small part due to being dragged to Catholic mass every Sunday) and how scared and lonely I felt as I pondered the age old questions of “who made God; why am I here; how did all this happen; eternity (and do I really want to live forever???); infinity; what’s the meaning of life, etc…” This was enough to make anyone go absolutely crazy. I found out later on in college that indeed, some of the most brilliant minds in science/philosophy have gone mad thinking about this stuff… I’ve never indulged in drugs, but I most certainly understand those who do – – at least the smart ones! I see nothing wrong with checking out temporarily. In the words of Tom Petty, “gonna free fall out into nothin’ / gonna leave this world for a while…

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

      Just take some drugs and chill from your great and onerous intellectual burden already. Geez!

      November 15, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • mitt

      totally agree... there are different potential problems for people with different levels of hgh IQ... 100 is not the same as 130 which is not the same as 150 etc...
      also agree...when you look into detox... alcohol (legal) is more likely to kill you during detox than withdawal from any other drug, it is sooooooooooooooooooo addictive.... (and i won't argue about the levels of addiction to other drugs) .... and, do you know anyone who has been killed by a drunk driver? i know several...

      November 15, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Well stated, mkuske. Perfectionism and procrastination, the old two-headed dragon. I want to do something, but I want to do it perfectly. I'm not sure I have the tools or skill to do it perfectly, therefore it doesn't get done. Few of my friends or acquaintances understand this. As for existential depression, I think there is a direct causal link between that and atheism. I don't believe in god because I understand too much of science, therefore I get the blues about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, to borrow a phrase from Douglas Adams. Take heart, though - the older I get, the more I realize I know very little, and the less it matters.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • Hm

      IQ is something that changes throughout life, is affected by many factors, and, honestly, isn't that good of a meter for intelligence/etc.

      Also, am I the only one amused by the fact that all of the people who are defending pot smoking and their high IQs have hideous grammar/spelling? 😉

      November 15, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
  16. ANN

    in my experience pot heads are dumb and usually sleep.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john

      did it ever occur to you those people would do that anyways? maybe you should keep different company. the potheads i hang around with make six figures and climb mountains for fun.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      @Ann Give me a break already, you probably have friends that live productive lives and you don't even know it

      November 15, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      You are referring to downer drugs such as marihuana. Some folks take upper drugs, like cocaine.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • ToadInAustin

      I'm a pothead. However, I can spell, capitalize, and punctuate when I write. Did you realize you were posting in public?

      November 15, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • theallhighupkid

      Look, thats as stereotypical as saying all black people commit crimes, well maybe not THAT stereotypical, but you get my point. I have 2 children, a wife, (been married 17 years) a GREAT job,(75K/year) and a beautiful home. My wife and I smoke pot EVERY DAY! We dont go to bed until 10 or 11pm most nights, and are up at 530 every morning. So to say all potheads do is sleep, is just ignorant.

      November 15, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      ANN, exactly why would you think a Cannabinoidian would share his reality with a bigot like yourself?

      November 15, 2011 at 21:13 | Report abuse |
  17. arguablybetter

    maybe this is the case because more intelligent people don't believe everything a government tells them hook, line, and sinker.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john

      thank you

      November 15, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • Cody


      November 15, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      That's definitely a factor.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  18. greenwater squid

    i agree that people with high Iq deal with things different drugs day to day life etc. for me with a iq of 113 use drugs to relax and dumb myself down and not car if im right or wrong


    November 15, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      And obviously you don't care if your comment is full of bad grammar and misspellings to the point of being nearly incomprehensible. Good for you.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Hm

      @Leaf On The Wind–Thank you. 🙂

      November 15, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
  19. Düsseldorfer

    I would suspect that the two drivers would be 1) ability (funds) to purchase drugs and 2) the self-centered arrogance and sense of superiority that convinces high-IQ individuals that they will not fall into the traps of drug use and their negative effects, both internally (one's own health and mind) and externally (how it affects the lives of others).

    November 15, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Although your second point has some merit, I would argue that it depends upon the drug. Cannabis users do not fall into that "I'm too smart to become addicted" category, since cannabis is in no way addictive or even very harmful, as compared to cocaine, heroin, alcohol, or even prescription pain killers. Not all "smart people" are arrogant.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • Co

      Most 'intelligent' people definitely DO NOT feel that they are too smart to become addicted, or are some how better than people who aren't as intelligent as they are. I know that, for me, it's the exact opposite. While I'm pretty damn smart compared to the majority, I feel incredibly inadequate whenever I see someone doing something outside of my own abilities. I feel that I'm not good enough to compete, and from there, fall into the existential depression and all that fun stuff.

      I don't think the less intelligent really understand the burdens we tend to carry. I've gone through several bouts of depression, drug use (hard drugs too- not just weed. Face it, weed is about as harmful as caffeine.) Not to mention the anxiety.

      I've contemplated suicide, I've deprived myself of sleep (three to five days without any sleep at all, staying up via mostly stimulants, however, I did mix quite a few drugs together. Was on cocaine, amphetamine, meth, and several other drugs like psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, a few of the 2c's, and some other lesser known drugs.)

      Imagine the deepest depression possible, being depressed and unsure of your mere existence. Then imagine that there is no way to fix it. You know you're not capable of doing anything about it, and the only thing you can do is cope. Coping is impossible. The only place to go is inside, and when inside is filled with doubt and other mental issues, the only place to turn is drugs.

      Weed has been keeping me sane for nearly ten years now, however, I still get these thoughts. I don't think I'll be able to escape it, it's with me for life.

      I'd trade my intelligence to escape this depression, honestly. It's that bad.

      November 15, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
  20. Catherine

    Maybe they are smart enough not believe the lies they were taught about cannabis, then think if I was lied to about this, maybe the other (more harmful) drugs aren't that bad either. How many of us were taught that one joint will make you crazy?

    November 15, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Commenter567

    What a stupid study. Did the correlate the fact that the people with the higher IQs probably had better jobs – which means better pay and potentially more money to spend on drugs and alcohol? Duh

    November 15, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      First of all, the study does not mention alcohol usage. Next, drugs are widely available to people at all economic levels: white yuppies take cocaine while in ghettos they consume crack. Additionally, the IQ study was done during childhood and the drug usage was measured during adulthood.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
  22. lensam

    The link is there and it doesnt surprise me at all. usually people with high IQ have to deal with a lot of pressure, anxiety and depression. My IQ was 142 at the ripe age of 16 while i was attending my first year in college. And yes at time I felt like sinking and did use drugs just to take the edge off. This topic is really hard to explain since a lot people assume that a higher IQ is equivalent to be a happy individual....not so the case, just sayin

    November 15, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Ramon F. Herrera

    Perhaps people with high IQ are more sincere?????

    November 15, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. AnamousOne

    Graduated upper percentile of my high school class (cried the one time I got a C). Graduated from college with 3.82 GPA. Successfully worked in the IT field for over twenty-five years now as C, VB, Pascal and Cobol programmer, network administrator and web developer. Love mathematics and history. Have smoked cannabis for nearly forty years. Don't drink or smoke cigarettes. Am I an anomaly? No. Public perceptions are created by misguided people. For religious and other control-based reasons, our society is told what to think and believe. Glad I did not listen.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doug

      Well said – your story reads almost EXACTLY like my own – but I have only smoked for 12 years!

      November 15, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
  25. kenny

    this is almost common sense... think about it... ignorance is truly bliss... the more you know the more you realize how depressing our existence is and feel the need to leave it for a while... plus knowing the truth about drugs makes it easy to do them safely.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sleepyinsf

    The researcher isn't sure why people with higher IQs are more inclined to drink or do drugs? Well, it's not particularly difficult. We do drugs or drink in order to be able to cope with stupid people, who are out there en masse. Don't believe me? Read the majority of the mind-numbingly stupid and inane posts here. Oy vey! I need a drink.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Bradford

    I had a pretty serious drug problem in my 20's. It never lead to lost jobs or bad grades in school. I found many things in life were boring and I didn't feel challenged. I can't count how many times I took college exams and couldn't remember a single questions that was asked due to my intoxication level, yet I set the curve. My main issue was that I didn't like to draw tasks out, give me a task and lets finish it. Why take a class over a semester when you can learn the material in 3 days. Why spread a job out over a week when you can dive in and finish it in 20 consecutive hours. I think these were some of the issues that lead to my abuse. Sober now, and bored out of my mind.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeanne

      Congratulations on being sober now, but I don't understand the boredom. The world is full of things you can learn and study.
      The library is full of great and interesting books. Scholars and scientists are always coming up with new and exciting ideas about the universe. ( I have been told my IQ is high and graduated with honors, but always knew it was unwise to take drugs.) Leading a healthy lifestyle can make life more interesting. Fine tune your intellect into wisdom. With your intelligence you have a lot to give, but also to learn. All the mysteries of the universe have not yet been solved. Help solve them! Find your passion or dream and pursue it, or make enough money to be a world traveler and photojournalist. Share your intelligence and ideas. Write a book or make a movie. We need someone intelligent to be President! You may give the world new ideas as did Einstein and many others. You have so much potential. This is a challenge to conquer your boredom, use your fine intellect, and live you life!

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

      My Mensa-certified Dad used to say: "If you're bored, you're boring". If you can't keep your own mind content and occupied, no person or drug is going to make you less bored. Go volunteer! I have retired from a great job, I'm enjoying a nice pension and I've racked up thousands of volunteer hours, literally. And oh by the way, I'm 56, class valedictorian, skipped two years of college, earned a B.A. and M.A., and have enjoyed family, friends and adventures all while smoking some of the best herbs money can buy/people can grow.

      November 15, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  28. Doug Kirschman

    Although an interesting study, two important things should be kept in mind when viewing these results:

    1. There is certainly no causal relationship here. Being smart didn't CAUSE the drug use. It may have been a factor though.

    2. The inverse is also not proven... meaning using drugs does not CAUSE a high IQ.

    BTW... in my humble opinion, the war on drugs is just as much of a waste of time and money as the war on poverty.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • theallhighupkid

      What "War on pverty" would that be? lol

      November 15, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      Umm, the war on poverty worked. C'mon, we measure poverty by the number of color TVs in a home of people under the "poverty" line and are very concerned that everyone doesn't have central a/c. People used to starve to death in this country you know. Heard about any of that? Think the bleeding hearts and artists wouldn't be squealing like stuck pigs if people in the US were still starving to death?

      November 15, 2011 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
  29. ToadInAustin

    What fluff.

    Studies like these are meant for entertainment, nothing more. They get funding, and they get published in the popular press, and they're not of any substance whatsoever. They work, though. It's a good headline, it gets hits. Science is just like anything else–you get publicity, that's one step toward getting money.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. TJ

    I wish all the potheads on here would realize that the implication is not that drug users have higher IQs (that doing drugs is a sign of a higher IQ). Just that people with higher IQs are more likely to do them. Since a small fraction of the population has a high IQ (most are average or below–duh) it is still possible (and likely) that most people doing drugs are not the high-IQ group. Sorry.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sarah

      Thank you for sharing my concern over how this will be interpreted. Also, sadly, many people are more inclined to believe they fall into this category than not, regardless if they have or have not been "tested" at one point in their life.

      November 15, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      A pair of innumerates above. Oh well.

      November 15, 2011 at 21:22 | Report abuse |
  31. Todd L

    Does anyone know if the study controlled for income as an adult. Higher IQ most likely lead to more education which lead to higher income. I suspect that having more disposable income is a contributing factor.

    November 15, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tom-S

    It may have somthing to do with the lies we are told as children about drugs. A person with a high IQ doesnt take anything they are told at face value.

    November 15, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Carol

    Seriously, parents and teacher could say all the wanted about their little Just Say No crap campaign back in the day...they did and do nothing about the legal and highly addictive Schedule II controled narcotics forced on 6 Million little kids everyday before class. Often kids targeted for stimulants have a higher IQ so if anyone really wants to know why many of them are more prone to addiction as adults maybe we should get THIS kind of medical history first. I think it's naive not to at least ask the quesiton...

    November 15, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Garnet69


      To an ADD/ADHD child, Ritalyn, Adderall and the other stimulant based (amphetamine) drugs are not addictive. My son has been taking them for a few years during school, but does not take them on weekends or school breaks. I took them in my late 30s for a year and stopped....and I have a very addictive personality (I did lose 70 pounds, though).

      Studies have shown that untreated ADD kids have a higher chance of using illegal drugs in their teens than their non-ADD peers (presumably due to self-medicating), but treated ADD kids have a much lower chance of using illegal drugs in their teens than their non-ADD peers.

      November 15, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • Duncan20903

      Why do street meth when the doctor will prescribe medicinal meth? Medicinal meth is called Desoxyn® at CVS, and that's given to the kids who don't respond to the well known names.

      You better believe that Adderall is speed. But Garnet69, I do find your rationalizations most amusing. FDA approval and a doctor's prescription chase away all the deleterious effects, and do so even better than a magic wand.

      November 15, 2011 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
  34. OTHonCNN

    This article says "The study also ... looked at education and other socioeconomic factors" but it doesn't give us the goods on that part. As several others pointed out in comments, the economic factor can definitely make a difference in attaining mind altering substances. Similarly, being in places of higher learning often provides a more diverse exposure to people and things, including drugs.

    November 15, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. sarah

    The only problem I have with studies such as this one is that people who don't necessarily have high IQs will reference this when arguing for the reason they choose to ingest drugs. I don't want to sound as if I'm completely against moderate, recreational use, but also, on a side note, having a high IQ really doesn't matter if one chooses to do nothing beneficial with his or her perceived intelligence.

    November 15, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Pikey Pete

    odd how the study was talking about all drugs, and people home right in on pot. Very few mentions of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, MDMA, Adderall, Cylert, Ritalin, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Morphine, Phenobarbital, or any other of the commonly abused drugs. This just means that propaganda is working well.

    November 15, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Right on

      The new DDs are a lot better than those street substances and cut pharmaceuticals. I recommend 2C-E, and I've had great success with MDPV, I have yet to try any of the other stims yet. The RC's also work very very well in combination with either of those. Mixing all of those together is just mentally and physically exhilarating.

      November 15, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
  37. being frank

    READ the STORY!

    November 15, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Steve

    I suspect this has a lot to with people who do/do not have decent critical reasoning skills. Boogeymen can't get you if you don't believe in them.

    Or another interpretation is that the ridiculous number of stupid people doing and saying stupid things is very depressing to the minority of people who know stupid when the see it. Irrationality is a burden only to the rational.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      To quote a line from the movie "Bull Durham" - The world was made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness.

      November 15, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
  39. Neil Cassidy

    My take on it is that a higher IQ makes it more difficult to find the "off" switch, inhibiting the ability to truly relax. It's like trying to sleep in a room flooded with high intensity light and loud noise. Some of us are born with ear plugs and blinders , others need to put them on.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      What we need to find is the Off switch for the morons surrounding us.

      November 15, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
  40. Jack Sheet

    Funny comment about the "The truly inteligent ", kinda like true xian. * NEWS FLASH * People with higher IQ's are surounded by people with lower IQs with "Opinions" and may be self medicating. Probably the best way to lower MJ use is to STFU. Think hard, you'll get it.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Jack, that's my favorite comment on this thread. Thanks! I needed a good chuckle. 🙂

      November 15, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
  41. claygooding

    Where do I sign up to get government money to research stupid stuff?

    Mankind has used,abused and amused drugs since a caveman drug a funny looking bush in and threw it on the fire. Bummed the clan out though when they ate a mammoth in one night instead of a week though.

    Our society has survived everything nature has thrown at it and we have evolved into what we are with mankind using them.

    What we may not survive is mankind's inventions and research,,,and the laws our leaders deem necessary.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Philo Van Rood

    One word to end the argument over whether cannabis is 'good for you' or not: ENDOCANNABINOIDS. Look it up. You were born a pothead, just like every other mammal on Earth. Prohibitionists, go lay by your respective dishes. Thank you. Peace.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Garnet69

    What many people on this board, and in society as a whole, fail to understand is that the brain of a highly intelligent, and in particular, an ADD/ADHD brain is different than that of a "regular" person. This can be witnessed by seeing what happens when you give an ADHD (hyper) child amphetamines or caffeine. It calms them down whereas if you give a "normal" kid these drugs, it makes them hyper.

    The effect other illegal drugs have on high IQ and/or ADD/ADHD people is different than occurs in "normal" people.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      It's been decades since I was a child but cafeine still makes me sleepy, and antihistamines amp me up.

      November 15, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
  44. Dr Bob

    I have 2 degrees (engineering), own 2 companies and have a family. You ppl need to read more and understand a few things...start reading up on your own CB2 receptors. Read about the chemicals they put in your foods, your air and you wanna come down on this. Its a waste of money to police, a waste of resources to control and its everywhere. Check out the reseach on it all. I feel most are just OPINIONS and that is all, lets get some hard facts. I'm sorry that living with most of you is taxing on my brain that I need a break. The constant "How do I?" Drive me crazy..its called a book or the internet go find out how then APPLY your self to it. Its not the weed that keeps ppl home living in basements its lack of DRIVE! Wake up, its not the drugs, its your life and your past that will guide your future. Lazy+pot=lazier.....Do you even know what you eat daily? What you breath? What chemicals are leeching in to the air from your car? You uncle, brother, or friends sit because they have NOTHING going for them....try guiding them in life and not put them down, maybe they need YOUR help to see, not to stand over them and tell them how sad YOU think their life is. Help them find a better way, we are all in this together, you me all of us. I have seen ppl do crazy things on too much coffee, booze, after a great experience. For every finger you point at others 3 are pointing back at you. Dont judge before you walk a mile.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Right on

      ... and the most sane and rational comment on the message board goes to a STONER!! Articles point proven.

      November 15, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
    • Jeanne

      You've made some excellent points. It's good to hear from someone who is intelligent and accomplished, yet is not arrogant.
      You come across as wise and compassionate with a sense of humility in that you do not judge others who are deemed less fortunate.

      November 15, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      The steady stream of "how do I" questions drive me nuts, too, so I bought myself a shirt that says "RTFM".

      November 15, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
  45. tdubbs

    Did you know countries that have legalized pot actually have a way lower crime rate including violent ones, not just with drugs. And you still think pot makes you wanna kill people???

    November 15, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Smoking cannabis just makes me want to watch Sci Fi movies in HD and order pizza.

      November 15, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
  46. Jeffhobbes

    Hey great job reporting a new study, next time thought, DON'T USE PERSONAL ANECDOTES. That's highschool journalism 101. Anecdotes don't prove anything, they often don't provide factual reference. They colour the story with a strong personal reference frame and occlude facts. I thought this was a professional news reporting site

    November 15, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Jeff, you read an article about a study showing a prevalence for recreational drug use among those with high IQs, and you comment on what you preceive as unprofessional writing? Seriously? That's extraordinary.

      November 15, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
  47. Zanny the Nanny

    I know now where all the brilliant minds are in this country now. Now we have to stimulate the cosnumption in China then they lack of intelligent people.

    November 15, 2011 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Zanny the Nanny

    I'm was working in a mathematical model to describe how to pass a pink elephant through a black hole without it loosing its colour and stop being an elephant when I came accross to this article. Want another joint? I said nothing about the dimensions of the hole, pice of cake. I got a 50 IQ, is that high or I'm high?

    November 15, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Servetus

    The piece notes that intelligent people are more likely to experiment with drugs, not that drug taking behavior is the exclusive domain of the intelligent. Drug seeking behavior is more likely to be practiced by all those suffering from depression, PTSD or other problems. It’s also likely to be practiced by the curious. Again, intelligence wouldn’t necessarily be a factor, although it helps. I think culture should be more heavily weighted in drug taking behavior when considering all the variables. Measured distinctions in drug taking behavior fall heavily into specific cultural categories that include political and religious outlooks.

    What is a factor is that risk taking and creativity is wired into the youthful brain as an adaptive evolutionary response. Survival by way of the old solutions to life’s problems would not lead to new and better means for a more efficient survival of the species. It’s analogous to some ancient humanoid who discovers a snake in the grass: dangerous, maybe; but for those with a little more courage, a mighty fine meal as well. Adding a little snake or frog venom to arrow-tips makes for better hunting skills, and so forth.

    Youthful courage and curiosity is likely to make quick work of something as marvelous as changing one’s perceptions and emotional responses via chemistry. To deny these faculties and their benefits, drug induced or not, is to deny an option made available by human evolution, which through experimental trial and error has given us the largest pharmacopeia the species has ever known.

    November 15, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Zach

    all you MJ haters, I smoke weed every day, am a happy, successful college student. I don't want to hear any of these stereotypes of it.

    November 15, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
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