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IEET > Life > Health > Vision > Affiliate Scholar > Andrea Kuszewski

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Say No to Pot, and Say Yes to Cognitive Enhancement


Andrea Kuszewski
Andrea Kuszewski
Ethical Technology

Posted: Jan 16, 2013

There are a lot of studies lately going back and forth on whether or not smoking pot is harmful to your brain. Does it lower your IQ? Is that change is permanent, or does it only last for the duration that you are smoking it? Here’s the scoop…

EVERYTHING YOU DO CHANGES YOUR BRAIN. Everything. Large or small, it all has an effect. You’ve heard me say this before, a bazillion times. Purposefully doing things to enhance cognition will improve your brain. Doing things that hinder cognition will hurt your brain long-term. 
 
Why?
 
Forget about whether or not pot actually kills brain cells or synaptic connections on a chemical level. What’s worse about pot is that it kills your motivation. Also, it slows your reaction times. This means your world is in slow motion and you’ve embraced the Honey Badger mentality of cognition: you just don’t give a fuck.
 
So you won’t be spending your time reading, or engaging in cognitively intensive activities that challenge your brain in a meaningful way, enhancing cognition. You will be getting LESS smart every single day
 
that you smoke pot, because you aren’t pushing your brain to be in top form, thinking at the highest level you can. You are cruising through life, doing the bare minimum when it comes to cognition. You aren’t challenging yourself; you are coasting. Coasting is not one of the Five Ways to Increase Intelligence.
 
I know some people claim that smoking pot helps them ‘think more creatively’, but what it really does is get super-inflexible thinkers to break out of their rigid thinking pattern. The true quality of their ideas isn’t necessarily any better. Not to mention, non-rigid and weird does not equal successful creativity, either. But if that is your goal, then hey—smoke away. But don’t think it is making you smarter, because it isn’t.
 
If you want to get high now and then, that is your choice. But if you truly care about IQ, intelligence, and performing at your cognitive best, then smoking pot (especially very frequently) will hurt you. Bottom line.
 

Andrea Kuszewski, an Affiliate Scholar of the IEET, lives in San Francisco and works as a researcher and manager with VORTEX Research Group. She investigates the neurocognitive factors behind human behavior.
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COMMENTS


Law and order, Justice and punishment.. and legalising drug use including consequences of experimentation and addiction.. the results.. long term mental impairiment and even psychosis?

EastEnders’ Gemma McCluskie ‘killed after sink row’

“The brother of former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie beat her to death after a row over an overflowing sink, a court has heard.”

“Prosecutor Crispin Aylett, QC said Mr McCluskie killed his sister, cut up her body and dumped it in Regent’s Canal in east London.”

“‘Permanently stoned’

Mr Aylett said there had been tension between the siblings for some time, largely as a “result of the defendant’s habitual use of cannabis - and its most toxic form, skunk”.

“Gemma told a friend ‘He’s permanently stoned. He puts a spliff in his mouth first thing in the morning and doesn’t know what he’s doing’,” the court heard.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-21014793


Decriminalise drugs, inquiry by cross-party peers says

“The least harmful should be regulated and sold in licensed shops, with labels detailing risks, the group concluded.”

“‘Relatively safe’”

” “What we’re saying is if young people are going to buy these things, is it not better that they know exactly what is in them? They will not be contaminated because they will be provided through legal channels. And the young people will in fact be relatively safe.” “

“The group said: “Some young people will always want to experiment and they are at real risk if they can only buy the less harmful drugs from the same dealers who are trying to push the most harmful ones.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21004715


... And this is the dilemma isn’t it? Why do folks take drugs?... to see what it does for them? So how does legalising certain designer drugs and yet not others as yet untested actually help the situation..?

which is funda-mentally the situation where society sanctions the use of being stoned out of your mind.. regardess of long term health risks and associated mental illness and social ineptitude?

Bottom line.. any society that promotes the use of any drugs and expects drugs use not to be abused needs their heads examined?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





We’ve got to reckon also with the compostion of marijuana smoke, and whether ingesting marijuana impairs cognition more than smoking it.





“We’ve got to reckon also with the compostion of marijuana smoke”

That is to say, is marijuana smoke carcinogenic?- and does ingesting marijuana impair cognition more than smoking it?





Reference:

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/40/E2657





You argue that smoking marijuana is bad because it means you’re not constantly “pushing your brain to be in top form”.

What about drinking a glass of wine? Watching cartoons? Sleeping in? Going to an amusement park? Wouldn’t the same argument apply to all of these activities? Why single out marijuana?

What about medical use of marijuana? Is it fair to say that marijuana makes everyone less smart, when for some people it actually helps them function?





@Cygnus: Society doesn’t necessarily sanction an activity just because it’s legal. What’s being sanctioned is self-ownership.





@ ShaGGGz..

Self ownership yes indeed, liberal freedoms yes indeed, (until everyone faces legislation and restriction of freedoms in the name of “freedom” that is), but really, if you offer kids sweets they are gonna eat them… a responsible society, even a democratic “Big” society ideal needs to take responsibility for itself. As they say Society is its own burden?

Legalising drugs is a great way to create tax revenues, govts don’t care if the proletariat are permanently stoned, wasting their lives and brain matter.. and again, it’s a great tool for keeping them divided, dis-unified, (towards Humanism thinking), and misdirected with yet more consumerism and escapism. What better way to control population than to have half of them stoned? Apathy unbound!

There is absolutely no way that authorities will be able to keep up with home made designer drugs, and absolutely no way that this will stop “kids” from experimenting with them. Legalising even mildest of drugs opens the door for social acceptance of public disorder, petty crimes, rape, assaults and even more.. Check out some of the poisonous harmful drugs being made available in South America presently?


Sign O the times?

“Oh yeah
In France a skinny man
Died of a big disease with a little name
By chance his girlfriend came across a needle
And soon she did the same
At home there are seventeen-year-old boys
And their idea of fun
Is being in a gang called The Disciples
High on crack, totin’ a machine gun


Time, time


Hurricane Annie ripped the ceiling of a church
And killed everyone inside
U turn on the telly and every other story
Is tellin’ U somebody died
Sister killed her baby cuz she could afford 2 feed it
And we’re sending people 2 the moon
In September my cousin tried reefer 4 the very first time
Now he’s doing horse, it’s June


Times, times


It’s silly, no?
When a rocket ship explodes
And everybody still wants 2 fly
Some say a man ain’t happy
Unless a man truly dies
Oh why
Time, time


Baby make a speech, Star Wars fly
Neighbors just shine it on
But if a night falls and a bomb falls
Will anybody see the dawn
Time, times


It’s silly, no?
When a rocket blows
And everybody still wants 2 fly
Some say a man ain’t happy, truly
Until a man truly dies
Oh why, oh why, Sign O the Times


Time, time


Sign O the Times mess with your mind
Hurry before it’s 2 late
Let’s fall in love, get married, have a baby
We’ll call him Nate… if it’s a boy


Time, time”

 





@Cygnus: All of the sensationalist rhetoric you are now spewing about legalizing drugs was deployed when alcohol prohibition was on the table. Guess what, it didn’t work. All that happened was that people kept drinking, disrespect for the law was endemic, law abiding citizens were forced into the seedy criminal underbelly, and massive profits largely gave birth to organized crime, a wonderful sector of society with us to this day.

A far more effective way of “dividing up the proletariat” is to throw an obscene amount of them in jail, ripping apart families and forcing otherwise-harmless and law-abiding citizens into a life of crime, often irreversibly changed by prison by the time they get out, with no job prospects other than the criminal. Countless industries beyond big pharma and alcohol enjoy an artificially inflated market value as less harmful alternatives to their product are suppressed, police departments and militaries enjoy inflated budgets from having the big scary drug menace as a justification, crime proliferates, and the happy cycle just keeps on self-amplifying. Yes, this scenario is far preferable to one where trillions aren’t flushed down the toilet chasing artificially-created problems and citizens are taught the value of personal responsibility and liberty.





@ ShaGGGz

Sensational.. thanks! However, Prince sums it all up nicely does he not?

“..ripping apart families and forcing otherwise-harmless and law-abiding citizens into a life of crime, often irreversibly changed by prison by the time they get out, with no job prospects other than the criminal.”

And the above applies specifically and most relevantly to drugs abuse/addiction, and even without the relevance of drugs legislation, breaking laws and jails!

Come on, let’s face it, we should be protecting our, (societies), children and not “encouraging” them to take drugs and become addicted? We should be guiding folks away from the need for drugs escapism and not to promote it as yet another form of tax revenues and a way to disenfranchise the masses?

OK, your points about prohibition are relevant, and this is the dilemma, saying “kids, don’t take drugs they will destroy your mind and screw your life and make you psychotic”, only seems to make them more curious or make them rebel, and using any authoritarian stick to beat them into submission only creates rejection and retaliation, (such is the nature of Human ego, existential angst and confusion?)

But do you really envision Humanity’s future as one where Humans have nothing better to be than addicted to recreational drugs.. This has been envisioned, and it is a future as dystopian as any authoritarian model, where folks are forced to be sedate and sober and “to not have fun!”

What would David Pearce have to say about recreational drugs I wonder? OK, perhaps he would say that they may be useful to re-calibrate the hedonic scale for Humans, and that any tool that can make us more happy and less violent, ease suffering, is a boon? Perhaps? I do not want to put words in his mouth, although this would also be a valid argument for?

So is the answer to permit folks to take all the drugs they can stomach, (and buy them legit ‘cause it supports the free market ideal and tax collection to boot), or is it to only permit “harmless” non mind fracking drugs that don’t drive society into the dustbin?

I still say that by encouraging “any” drugs use, we, (society), are sanctioning the experimentation and the proliferation of abuse with “all” drugs, and that it is impossible to regulate home made designer drugs, (drugs kits may become as readily available for your kids as chemistry sets in this kind of “liberal” future)?


“Countless industries beyond big pharma and alcohol enjoy an artificially inflated market value as less harmful alternatives to their product are suppressed, police departments and militaries enjoy inflated budgets from having the big scary drug menace as a justification, crime proliferates, and the happy cycle just keeps on self-amplifying. Yes, this scenario is far preferable to one where trillions aren’t flushed down the toilet chasing artificially-created problems and citizens are taught the value of personal responsibility and liberty.”

Agreed, the status quo is not ideal, and ethics is ever evolving, (not necessarily equated with “progressing”?) I would like to see the statistics as to whether drugs legalisation in Portugal has actually increased or decreased drugs use and abuse there, if there are any supporting statistics that is?





“And the above applies specifically and most relevantly to drugs abuse/addiction, and even without the relevance of drugs legislation, breaking laws and jails!”

Not sure what you mean here…

“Come on, let’s face it, we should be protecting our, (societies), children and not “encouraging” them to take drugs and become addicted?”

Again, having something legal doesn’t imply encouragement. And you keep bringing things back to “the children” (eternally reliable pretext for passing all sorts of horrible laws) but there is no reason whatsoever that these substances couldn’t be regulated similar to how tobacco and alcohol are now, with age restrictions included.

“But do you really envision Humanity’s future as one where Humans have nothing better to be than addicted to recreational drugs”

That’s an amazing leap you’re making, from having the legal option to explore one’s mind to implying that this is all anyone would ever want to do. I, like most responsible people, don’t spend my days in a drooling stupor just because it’s one of my options. The fact that it’s illegal is not the principal deterrent to myself and most other people.

“We should be guiding folks away from the need for drugs escapism”

I agree. The chief word here is “guiding,” as in, investing in education, memetic engineering and otherwise making the rest of life not so horrible that people seek an escape from it. Throwing a kid in jail for smoking a joint and permanently compromising his odds of being a productive member of society is quite a perverted notion of what “guiding” entails.

“What would David Pearce have to say about recreational drugs I wonder?”

Increasing our hedonic baseline is but one avenue that is left woefully unexplored, as academic research into psychoactives/entheogens stagnates. I shudder to think how much untapped knowledge we stupidly deprive ourselves of, and how much we’ve lost over the decades.

“I still say that by encouraging “any” drugs use, we, (society), are sanctioning the experimentation and the proliferation of abuse with “all” drugs, and that it is impossible to regulate home made designer drugs”

Again, “not criminalizing” is a very long ways away from “encouraging.” It’s perfectly legal for me to drink drain cleaner or hand sanitizer… And yes, it is now a fool’s errand to try to regulate every single possible designer drug, and this will only become increasingly true once individuals are able to make their own drugs with ever greater ease.

“I would like to see the statistics as to whether drugs legalisation in Portugal has actually increased or decreased drugs use and abuse there, if there are any supporting statistics that is?”

Last I checked, there was a slight initial increase as those who were curious tried it out, but then it soon reverted to about the same level as before, demonstrating what I said above, that most people don’t need the government to tell them how to live their lives, diverting countless resources that could be spent on much more productive ends.





One reason marijuana is so popular despite the risks mentioned—an obvious reason, so apology if this has been written above: marijuana can be grown. One can’t grow speed, downers, or any of the familiar recreational drugs save for psilocybin (not that I’d know anything about drugs, naturally; who would dare even think such a thing?) mushrooms.





@Intomorrow: Exactly. If it was among the many relatively obscure herbs that pharmaceutical companies have been in a mad scramble to suck out of indigenous communities to patent them, it would not be illegal.





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