IQ and Drugs
© redOrbit

New research suggests that a high childhood IQ may be linked to subsequent illegal drug use.

Researchers studied data from 8,000 people in the 1970 British Cohort Study, which is a large ongoing population based study.

The IQ scores of the participants were measured at the ages of 5 and 10 years by using a validated scale, and then the information that was gathered on self reported levels of psychological distress and drug use at the ages of 16 and 30.

The team found that about a third of men and a sixth of women had used marijuana by the age of 30, while 8.5 percent of men and 3.6 percent of women had used cocaine in the previous 12 months.

A similar pattern of use was found for other drugs, with overall drug use being twice as common among men as among women.

The analysis showed that men with high IQ scores at the age of 5 were around 50 percent more likely to have used amphetamines, ecstasy, and several illicit drugs than those with low scores.

The link between IQ and drug use was even stronger among women, as women with higher IQs showed they were twice as likely to have used marijuana and cocaine as those with low IQ scores.

The findings also held true when researchers took into account anxiety or depressing during adolescence, parental social class, and lifetime household income.

"Although most studies have suggested that higher child or adolescent IQ prompts the adoption of a healthy lifestyle as an adult, other studies have linked higher childhood IQ scores to excess alcohol intake and alcohol dependency in adulthood," the authors wrote in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

When trying to explain the findings, the authors pointed to previous research that showed that highly intelligent people are open to experiences and keen on novelty and stimulation.

Other research has shown that brainy children are often easily bored and suffer at the hands of their peers for being different.