CBD and IQ: does cannabis make you less smart?

Why the link between CBD and IQ is greatly exaggerated

Is there a link between CBD and IQ? A question that intrigues many people because after all, one of the most common clichés is that cannabis lowers IQ or is linked to low intelligence... So at Cakespace, we decided to seriously adress the question to answer it once and for all.  


CBD and IQ: the origins of the controversy

What’s IQ?

Avant de parler du lien entre CBD et QI, autant savoir de quoi on parle … alors le QI, c’est quoi ? 

Abréviation de Quotient Intellectuel, le QI est, pour faire simple, un indicateur d’intelligence. Il est mesuré par un test réalisé par un psychologue, qui évalue principalement les compétences cognitives, liés à l’apprentissage et au raisonnement.

Un QI moyen se situerait entre 85 et 115. En dessous de 85, on considère donc qu’une personne est d’une intelligence plus limitée, tandis que les personnes ayant des score supérieurs à 115 sont dits plus intelligents que la moyenne.

The link between cannabis use and decline in IQ

To examine this link between CBD and IQ, we started by looking at the studies that make started it all: those that correlate lower IQ with cannabis use. 

For example, a University of Oregon study published in 2012 tracked the cannabis use of more than 1,000 participants from age 13 to age 38. They found that between the beginning and the end of the study, participants with so-called "persistent" consumption habits had seen their IQ drop significantly. This decline was particularly noticeable for those who started in their teens. 

Still in 2021, a study of the University of Cambridge established a link between this persistent consumption of cannabis in adolescence and an average fall of two points of IQ.

CBD and IQ: when research has the wrong culprit

But even if there is indeed a correlation between CBD and IQ, there is nothing to say that cannabis use is the cause of this IQ decline.  

IQ, a controversial indicator

IQ itself is a highly controversial indicator. After all, who can claim to be able to measure with certainty a concept as vague as intelligence? Especially since the IQ is the result of a very standardized test, which only values one type of intelligence, while some people might be better off thanks to their emotional or social intelligence, or even their creativity. 

But the biggest concern is that the results depend a lot on environmental factors, especially socio-economic ones.

The influence of the environment, the missing piece?

This finding is all the more interesting when one realizes that this famous drop in IQ has previous causes that it shares with cannabis consumption, which would explain the strong correlation between the two. 

In fact, a study conducted on twins concluded that there was no significant difference between the twin who used cannabis during adolescence and the one who did not. The researchers therefore concluded that it was more socio-economic factors that were responsible for this loss of IQ.

A result confirmed by a 2018 study, which underlines that the consumers studied had already a lower IQ before starting the cannabis, and that the falls observed were not more important than at the non-consumers.

In conclusion, there is no evidence that cannabis lowers IQ, as there is no causal link. 

CBD, the best ally of cognitive functions

Not only do you not have to worry about any effects on your intellect, but to top it off, CBD is more than beneficial for cognitive function. 

By increasing blood flow to the brain, which facilitates information processing, Cannabidiol improves concentration. It also stimulates the hippocampus region, which plays an important role in memory processing, both short and long term.

By the way, if it's this particular effect you're looking for, you can go for our Focus line. To reinforce the effects of CBD, we have added extracts of stimulating plants such as ginko, bacopa and lion's mane, specially selected for their action on concentration and memory, all with a little CBG, a cannabinoid more powerful than CBD, to bring a welcome boost!

In any case, we hope that this article could reassure you and give you arguments if ever you hear this famous cliché... to learn more about this molecule, do not hesitate to make go on the blog, and on our side, we’ll come back very quickly for more content related to CBD!

Cake it easy,