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Marijuana Information

  • Controlled research and studies of both high school and college students show that more students now smoke marijuana than cigarettes.  
  • National data shows that among 19-30 year olds, 15% smoke at least monthly, and 5% smoke daily.  
  • Data from the College of Charleston shows that 12% of students smoke marijuana 3 times a week or more (compared to 7% avg. at other colleges).  
  • While students express a variety of reasons to smoke - to relax, to concentrate, to socialize, most focus on the low probability of addiction/dependence, and the public debate about the "medical" uses, and therefore "legitimate" uses of marijuana to support their own use.  
  • What most college students don't know is that marijuana use interferes with the very cognitive skills needed most to be successful in school.

 Below is a brief listing of research suggesting that students comply with current law and not smoke at all, or delay their smoking to winter break or summer, and NOT use during the school year

  1. An estimated 72.2 percent of students who did not use marijuana in the past month reported an A or B average in their last semester or grading period compared with 58.0 percent of those who used marijuana on 1 to 4 days and 44.9 percent of those who used marijuana on 5 or more days during the past month.
  2. In fact, heavy marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, relationship problems, and less academic and career success compared to their peers who came from similar backgrounds. For example, marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out from school. Several studies also associate workers' marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers' compensation claims, and job turnover.  Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana's adverse impact on learning and memory persists after the acute effects of the drug wear off; when marijuana use begins in adolescence, the effects may persist for many years. Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.
  3. A national study of 12th graders concluded that students who were regular smokers, or under the influence of marijuana or alcohol, performed significantly lower on standardized tests relative to their peers.  Jeynes WHThe relationship between the consumption of various drugs by adolescents and their academic achievementAm J Drug Alcohol Abuse2002;28(1):15-35
  4. Research has shown that marijuana's negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.  Polen, M.R.; Sidney, S.; Tekawa, I.S.; Sadler, M.; and Friedman, G.D. Health care use by frequent marijuana smokers who do not smoke tobacco. West J Med 158(6):596-601, 1993.
  5. Not surprisingly, evidence suggests that, compared with their nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school.Richer, I., and Bergeron, J. Driving under the influence of cannabis: Links with dangerous driving, psychological predictors, and accident involvement. Accid Anal Prev 41(2):299-307, 2009.
  6. A meta-analysis of 48 relevant studies—one of the most thorough performed to date—found cannabis use to be associated consistently with reduced educational attainment (e.g., grades and chances of graduating).  Schempf, A.H., and Strobino, D.M. Illicit drug use and adverse birth outcomes: Is it drugs or context? J Urban Health 85(6):858-873, 2008.
  7. Among marijuana-using undergraduates, daily use is associated with greater impairments to memory and motivation (Kouri, Pope, Yurgelun-Todd, & Gruber, 1995). In fact, among students who reported using marijuana 5 times or more in the past year, 40.1% had difficulty concentrating after using and 13.9% overslept and missed class (Caldeira et al., 2008). Use also appears related to spending less time studying and more time socializing (Bell et al., 1997) and students who use marijuana in addition to alcohol (although not necessarily at the same time) are more likely to perform poorly on tests, miss class, and experience memory loss than students who only use alcohol (Rhodes et al., 2008 and Shillington & Clapp, 2001).  Mental health problems and interest in marijuana treatment among marijuana-using college studentsJulia D. BucknerCorresponding author contact informationE-mail the corresponding author,Anthony H. EckerAlex S. Cohen Louisiana State University, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, 236 Audubon Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
  8. Marijuana use increases risk of academic problems.  USA Today, 06/07/2013, summary of extensive study at University of Maryland School of    Public Health.