HUD Secretary Ben Carson Spreads Marijuana Myths

Photo Credit: Carlo Allegri
Photo Credit: Carlo Allegri

Giving remarks to the Native American Housing Association, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson strayed into the marijuana reform debate. Unfortunately, the doctor did not know his facts.

Per the Flathead Beacon:

The HUD secretary briefly strayed from his prepared remarks to note that he believed marijuana use was just as problematic as opiate abuse.

“I’m not all that enthusiastic about marijuana because there have been numerous studies that show exposing a developing brain to marijuana can lead to lower IQs,” he said. “We already have enough people with a low IQ, and we don’t need anymore.”

The ongoing stereotype of marijuana consumers may be funny in movies, but it runs counter to evidence based science.

NORML has reported on three studies over the last year and a half that have come out dispelling this myth.

In London, United Kingdom, researchers concluded, “In summary, the notion that cannabis use itself is causally related to lower IQ and poorer educational performance was not supported in this large teenage sample.”

Data published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences led researchers to conclude: “In the largest longitudinal examination of marijuana use and IQ change, … we find little evidence to suggest that adolescent marijuana use has a direct effect on intellectual decline. … [T]he lack of a dose-response relationship, and an absence of meaningful differences between discordant siblings lead us to conclude that the deficits observed in marijuana users are attributable to confounding factors that influence both substance initiation and IQ rather than a neurotoxic effect of marijuana.”

Researchers published in the journal Addiction wrote: “[W]e found that youth who used cannabis … had lower IQ at age 18, but there was little evidence that cannabis use was associated with IQ decline from age 12 to 18. Moreover, although cannabis use was associated with lower IQ and poorer executive functions at age 18, these associations were generally not apparent within pairs of twins from the same family, suggesting that family background factors explain why adolescents who use cannabis perform worse on IQ and executive function tests.”

Investigators concluded, “Short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence.”

Their findings are consistent with those of several other studies – including those here, here, and here– finding that cannabis use alone during adolescence does not appear to have a significant, direct adverse effect on intelligence quotient.

Further, as to Secretary Carson’s remarks in the context of the nations opioid epidemic, it is important to note that medical marijuana access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, and opioid-related overdose deaths.

Don’t let those who speak in outdated rhetoric fool you. Stay vigilant against those who maintain the systems of prohibitionist oppression.

Click here to tell your member of Congress to join the newly formed Congressional Cannabis Caucus, to find real policy solutions to reforming our nations marijuana laws in our quest to deschedule the plant. 

33 thoughts

  1. Ben Carson is a poor student, and a poor role model. Trump is a fucking Nazi, and a flaming moron. Having said that…

    When neo-fascist Republicans promote reefer madness nonsense, and when neo-liberal Democrats refuse to take a stand against it, you kind of have to start worrying about everybody’s IQ!

    On the bright side (that’s heavy sarcasm), now that Trump is in office, unfettered corporate regulations will ensure plenty of lead in EVERYBODY’S drinking water, which will eventually, over time, “even out” the differences in IQ within American society. Cheers!

    1. Mark, in my few dealings with local politicos, I’ve found GOPers to be almost totally dismissive on the subject of MJ legalization. We’ve got some neoliberal Dems in my state, NM, too, but at least they listen to my comments (on the phone) instead of arguing with me or being dismissive, as the local GOPers invariably are.

      But I totally agree with your comment. I’ll almost always support any Dem running against any neoliberal Dem.

      1. @ Evening Bud,

        Agreed; the Democrats are coming around to their senses with regard to cannabis, slowly but surely, while Republicans are hellbent on going in reverse. So, yes, for a marijuana consumer, the choice is clear: Democrats.

        And in criticizing the corporate-owned neo-liberals, I certainly wouldn’t want to create a wedge issue for Republicans to exploit — you know they are already trying to do just that.

        Yet still, it galls me how many Democratic voters and politicians seem to be watching from the sidelines, aloof and condescending. If the Democrats won’t stick up for social justice, the Republicans sure won’t do it! But during the dark days of reefer madness, the old-school liberals took credit for opposing it somewhat, yet still used it to judge us, playing “blame the victim” …and saying things like “you shouldn’t be smoking that stuff, anyway.” And, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” (That’s good advice, but it should never be used to justify marijuana prohibition.)

        Now that legalization is happening all over, the current liberals (as opposed to the progressives) like to show how “hip” they are because they have decided not to “ground the kids” for smoking pot; but they still won’t stick their necks out. Still won’t take ownership or responsibility. “Well, it finally happened,” they say, like legalization dropped from the sky or something. This exasperates me!

        But don’t worry, I’m firmly in The Resistance, no quarter for fascists.

  2. Ben Carson went into Indian Country and said “I don’t like bureaucrats.” That must have gotten a lot of laughs.
    (Psst… Ben, you ARE a bureaucrat now…)

    And he thinks marijuana lowers IQ? Watching Fox News lowers IQ ya sleepy-eyed schmuck. Please will SOMEone in this administration do some research before talking?!

    Laughs aside, comparing marijuana to opiates is criminal. Washington v. Sessions should add this clown to the lawsuit. Exhibit F; another bureaucratic miseducated doctor spreading propaganda so Perdue can profit off of killing Americans.
    While were at it put Perdue and the Sackler family on trial for bribing the DEA and killing Americans for profit. Lets find the breadtrail from Carson to the Sacklers.

  3. Well Dr., your IQ just got a bit lower, if only because you continue to work for Donald Trump, the Nazi-Excuse-Maker. Sure, if students are high when they’re supposed to be studying their grades are going to suffer. Duh! You have that with high school kids who manage to get their hands on it, as well as university students such as the report on students in Maastricht.

    Whatever, Carson!

  4. A Pot Press reporter needs to call this guy out while the lame stream has it’s cameras rolling.

  5. We had our first big piece of evidence that synthetic opiate companies were against marijuana legalization when Insys Therapuetics, makers of fentanyl with pending patents on synthetic marijuana donated to successfully stop legalization in Arizona.

    This Post article talks about how the FDA and DEA should be investigated and sued for their role in the opiate crisis by allowing oxycontin to get mass produced by the billionaire Sackler family who owns Purdue:

    Of course an investigation from the DOJ will not happen when Jeff Sessions was milking Big Pharma from HealthSouth while Senator… Purdue has a lot to gain from Sessions protecting Purdue from prosecution, especially after their bribing of the DEA and FDA. As USAG Sessions is legally responsible for investigating the connection of oxycontin being overprescribed while marijuana remains in schedule 1, a point that should be raised in Washington v. Sessions.

    The entire administration and Congress is in deep with Purdue. We just have to follow the money… and dead bodies;

    This article from the Atlantic connects “rent seekers” with the opiate crisis:

    Makes me look at HUD in a whole new way… our government and the Sacklers are directly to blame for creating opiate dependence in entirely subsidized addiction communities… from the medicaid to the housing… where opiates become exchange for rent, currency, votes and entire cities of human souls.

  6. The valid arguments against legalization and decriminalization of cannabis fall on the deaf ears of those that have been bought and paid for by big pharma and prisons for profit. Please change the classification and reign in the FDA regarding Marijuana policy.

  7. Ben is unknowingly promoting legalization. Get it away from adolescent’s by making legal. How many 12 year old drunks do you know?

  8. Ben Carson reminds me of the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland. He’s continually asleep, but wakes up to say something inane, then promptly returns to dreamland.

    I think Alice in Wonderland may actually be an apropos metaphor for Trump’s presidency: it’s imbued with astounding folly, recklessness and a hint of insanity. Ben Carson, Kelly Ann, Bannon, Scaramooch, they could all fit easily into a Lewis Carroll story.

    “You are odd, preznit Drumpy,” the young aide said, “and your head has become very orange,
    and yet you incessantly talk out of your ass,
    that’s why the deplorables are always confused.”

    “In my youth,” preznit Drumpy replied to the aide,
    “I feared it might injure my brain,
    but now that I know that my ass and head are the same, why I’ll do it again and again. . . . “

  9. How is it that our president has a very low IQ and claims to have never used marijuana, alcohol, or even tea?

    I would guess that most cannabis users are smarter than Trump or Carson!

    At a minimum we have a better grasp of the facts and of reality!

  10. “Don’t let those who speak in outdated rhetoric fool you. Stay vigilant against those who maintain the systems of prohibition-ist oppression.” The brain, as fancy and delicate a neural network as medical science insists it is, does not think, possess intellect, produce consciousness or awareness because it is far too slow, as I prove to you below.

    The Neural Network Game for people who might like to practice thinking outside of the box for a moment:

    To play: Look at any object and wait patiently until you here yourself say the name of the object mentally, or any other name your mind emits. Continue to master the task of staring at a new object and waiting in silence to hear what your mind says it is, clearly mentally spoken breaking the silence.

    Scoring: The object might be named correctly by you within one second.
    The object might be named approximately within one second and correctly within two seconds.
    The object is misnamed repeatedly by your mind.
    The object is too complex to pronounce by your mind and a compressed name is given.

    1. What if I see a picture of Trump and the first word out of my mouth, stoned or otherwise, is “finasteride?”

  11. Well what the hell did everyone expect? Does anyone seriously believe that the Trump Administration would be cute and cuddly when it comes to cannabis? This administration prides itself on being willfully ignorant and is willing to destroy lives and freedom in their vain pursuit to crush cannabis freedom.

    1. Right wing stoners let their racism override their common sense when they voted for Trump, and they continue to do so when they refuse to admit their mistake. Now, we’re all paying for that mistake, and that’s what makes it my business when I call them out on it.

  12. Too bad the Flathead Beacon reprinted the lies. This is irresponsible journalism – and fake news. There are hundreds of people with real knowledge of the issue that the Beacon could have called for a second opinion. I myself would point to the children who have been saved from a life of constant debilitating seizures by marijuana oil. We don’t have to debate the straw man that is I.Q. loss to agree marijuana oil is helping these children. Without marijuana smokers, you have no marijuana oil. Thank you, marijuana smokers. Keep up the good work. You are doing more for your country than Ben Carson or the Flathead Beacon.

  13. It might behoove Dr Ben Carson to fact check before spreading myths related to use of marijuana. We have more addictions to illicit drugs and opioid abuse than with any amount of marijuana use!

  14. My brother and I would be good case studies of this. I have been smoking marijuana since I was 14 years old where is my brother has never smoked marijuana we are very similar in many ways. I believe we have similar intellects but different areas of interest.
    We are both successful in our individual Fields.
    If anyone is curious I am available to answer any questions

  15. How very disappointing. I had come to admire Dr. Carson, thought he was a man of balanced views, and so looked forward to the good he would do in his capacity as HUD secretary. But now, with this news, I find his failure to give due weight to the scientifically established value of cannabis profoundly disturbing. And worrisome. (Will this NEVER stop? I keep trying to be a faithful Republican, as I have been since the Reagan years, but the Trump Administration’s defiance of the clearly expressed will of the people with respect to cannabis legalization is making that nearly impossible. God help us.)

  16. what about the book that the government did research on marijuana on back in 71 i seen at a planetarium that government knew they was proof of medical uses. It was a paper back book that said if caught in personal possession was like a $300.00 fine and 1 year in jail what happen to that they just thew in trash and go on with the lies like usually do when they want to pad their pockets with money from big pharmacy. We the people need to vote for people who will do the peoples wills instead of lining their pockets That is my thought i just wished i had taken copies f the book i would post world wide for people to see the real truth and a friend of mine was in hospital for open heart surgery and was giving a pill synthetic cannabis in bham and was told they had that for 25 years so what does that say to this is Alabama ?

  17. All the Trump bashing is getting in the way of your arguments , I disagree with the” war on drugs” as many of you do. But Trump equals Hitler is not a argument, it is merely a insult that may make you feel better, but not helpful. Getting the message out, with verified facts is the best way.

    1. @ Matthew the oilman,
      It is real simple, Trump and Sessions ARE OUR ENEMIES, UNLESS YOU ARE A FASCIST NAZI ASSHOLE!
      Got it?

  18. This is sad given the fact I like and support Dr. Carson, except for his opinion here regarding the supposed “dangers” or marijuana. I still do not see these reasons he mentioned as being reason enough to not legalize. Not everyone abuses it or will expose others. There are those of us who are responsible and we should not be punished for the actions of a few.

  19. That’s pretty funny coming from a guy who always sounds like he just left a 24hr bongathon.He always sounds like a 45 played at 33.For a doctor I thought he’d be better informed. It’s not like it’s one of the most debated medicines to be discussed or mentions that involves ptsd’s, alternative med to be used against opioid addiction ……etc Perk up , switch to a sativa and get with the program Ben

  20. I quit smoking pot in college. I studied for an economics exam, smoked a joint to relax and go to sleep and ended up with a C on the exam. I was an A student. I am absolutely convinced that smoking the pot erased all the information I had studied. No more pot for me.

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