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Study: Middle-Aged Drug Users Have Sharper Minds

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Does this effect Objectivism's view on drugs??

"British researchers studied the mental sharpness of thousands of 50-year-old subjects, and found that those who had used illicit drugs—mainly marijuana—actually performed better than others on tests of memory and other brain functions"


Also, Stephen Molyneux posted this on his facebook, how exactly would a free society deal with this problem? Thanks.


^---The title is inaccurate, the main part is this:


Drug companies are not forced to publish all the results of their studies. They only publish those they want to."

Since information is such a crucial part of making sensible decisions in a market economy, would this and other critical information by private businesses, such as the contents of food etc. be required by federal law? How else would this be handled?

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That's correlation only, and like the article says, it may have as much to do with recreational drug users having been more likely to have gone to college as the effects of the drugs. I have no idea why they even would do(or publish) a study like this. We can infer almost anything we want from average IQ's of drug users to the "use it or lose it" approach to mental capacity to college being a hedonistic holding vat where the most intelligent(on average) 1/3 of the population is bored enough to blitz their mind out on a semi regular basis.

If they could bother to show any actual causation and we are left with "smoking pot increases working memory" or whatever, than sure it would affect objectivist's views if they wish to improve their mental sharpness. Personally I'm doubtful though having been well acquainted with some long term pot heads. I could imagine that some drugs lightly used(hallucinogenics mainly) may be of some value in allowing someone to make broader connections but I don't think that they do anything like increase sharpness.

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(Keep in mind that when I say drugs, I'm referring to the drugs the study was about)

One notable aspect is that only 6% percent of participants used drugs in the past year, so we can't really say much about how regular drug use affects cognitive function. In the Reuter's article linked, the lead researcher said that "illicit drug use is not necessarily associated with impaired cognitive functioning in early middle age." So, I'd say the Newser article linked is misleading. The important point about the study has nothing at all to do with improved cognitive function. Also important to note is that the researchers said the test scores about mental performance was a small advantage. The researchers attributed that to how occasional drug users (the kind of users the study is about) had higher education levels than non-users. So, perhaps that improved ability can be attributed to other factors. Overall, the study seems to basically be saying that drugs you had two years ago probably have no lasting negative cognitive impact. Trying marijuana once won't obliterate your mind. Regular use, on the other hand, wasn't studied. Still, there is reason to believe *frequent* drug usage is harmful, if you observe any addict.

I'm not really sure if there is any particular Objectivist view on drugs. If a particular drug causes an altered state of consciousness, you'd have to evaluate what affect that state has on your life. If you're literally attempting to put yourself in "another" reality for its own sake, that'd be evasion of the worst kind. If you're using drugs for a specific period of time for relaxation, it may be perfectly good. I recall in another thread about drugs, someone said to the effect of "nothing about Objectivism says you have to be hyperfocused like a ninja every moment." In other words, there is benefit to be had from relaxation and entertainment. If a drug damages your health, it's probably a bad idea to use it, and thus immoral. While I personally have a very strong aversion towards drugs and drinking and I don't seek out people who use that stuff regularly, there is nothing immoral per se about drug use.

How else would information (or lack thereof) be handled? A private evaluation agency that would likely operate in some manner like the FDA, except without the ability to force any company to do anything. If you don't see the "approved by the Safe Drug Evaluation Company" label, don't buy it. I'm sure some would argue that this SDEC that I invented may be bribed or bought out to favor certain companies, but the same could be said about the government. The reason a private agency would be better, though, is because some people really are willing to take risks on unapproved drugs, and should be allowed to choose for themselves how to improve their life. That applies to any kind of protection agency. I cannot imagine a scenario where an SDEC wouldn't appear in place of a government agency, because as you said, information is crucial for a market economy.

Edited by Eiuol
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