Marijuana Use Increases Chances Of Kids Becoming College Drop Outs

Discover how marijuana use increases chances of kids becoming college drop outs, impacting health and academics.

Marijuana Use Increases Chances Of Kids Becoming College Drop Outs

Marijuana Use Increases Chances Of Kids Becoming College Drop Outs

Marijuana Use and Academic Performance

Marijuana use is a controversial issue, particularly in academic environments where the consequences of its use can impact student success. The relationship between marijuana use and academic performance, specifically college GPA and time to graduation, is of particular concern.

Impact on College GPA

Studies have shown that students who use marijuana more frequently during college tend to have lower GPAs. One contributing factor is that these students are more likely to skip classes, which negatively affects their grades. Additionally, increases in marijuana use over time have been linked to declines in GPA [1].
Marijuana Use Impact
Frequent Use Lower GPA
Increased Use Over Time Decline in GPA

The effects of marijuana use on academic performance are not isolated to marijuana alone. The study highlighted that the impact is similar for baseline measures of alcohol use and other illicit drug use.

Influence on Time to Graduation

Marijuana use during college also affects the time it takes for students to graduate. The same study found a significant link from baseline marijuana use frequency to skipping more classes at baseline, which leads to lower first-semester GPA and, subsequently, a longer time to graduation.

Marijuana Use Impact
Frequent Use Longer Time to Graduate

This shows that marijuana use can be a barrier to academic achievement, even when accounting for other factors such as demographics and other drug use. Furthermore, baseline marijuana use during the first year of college has an enduring effect on delaying graduation several years later, through its influence on skipping class and GPA at baseline.

The impact of marijuana use on college GPA and time to graduation underscores the significance of understanding and addressing the issue, particularly in the academic context. The findings suggest that interventions aimed at reducing marijuana use could positively affect academic outcomes.

Health Consequences of Marijuana Use

While marijuana use is often associated with potential academic underperformance and increased risk of becoming college dropouts, it's important to understand the health consequences that often accompany regular use of this substance.

Respiratory and Neurocognitive Effects

Marijuana use has a significant impact on both respiratory and neurocognitive health. Smoking marijuana, in particular, can lead to respiratory issues similar to those experienced by tobacco smokers. Prolonged use can result in chronic bronchitis, lung inflammation, and a decrease in lung function.

Neurocognitive effects of marijuana use are also substantial and include impairments in basic motor coordination, executive function tasks, and the ability to plan, organize, solve problems, make decisions, remember, and control emotions and behavior. These effects can vary in severity depending on the quantity, recency, age of onset, and duration of marijuana use.

The acute effects of marijuana use, such as impaired attention, concentration, information processing, decision-making, risk-taking, inhibition, impulsivity, and working memory, may persist for several weeks after last use. Some of these effects, however, such as working memory abilities, generally return to normal after cessation of marijuana use.

Association with Health Problems

The use of marijuana over a prolonged period is significantly associated with increased health problems. A study following marijuana use over a period of 13 years found increased health problems by the late twenties. These included respiratory problems, general malaise, neurocognitive problems, and lower academic achievement and functioning [2].

Thus, while the immediate effects of marijuana use may be appealing to some, the long-term health consequences can be severe and far-reaching. This information is critical to anyone considering marijuana use, especially students where academic performance and future career prospects could be impacted. Recognizing the health risks associated with marijuana use is a crucial step in understanding why this substance can contribute to higher rates of college dropouts.

Behavioral and Social Effects

Marijuana use can have far-reaching behavioral and social effects that extend beyond the physical health implications. These impacts often contribute to the reasons why marijuana use increases the chances of kids becoming college drop-outs.

Risky Behaviors and Legal Issues

Marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of engaging in self-deviant actions, risky sexual behaviors, and violence towards others, often leading to contact with the justice system. Furthermore, cannabis use by college students is frequently associated with poorer academic performance. In fact, upwards of 70 percent of college students who actively use marijuana meet the criteria for a potential cannabis use disorder, according to the Vital Record.

These risky behaviors and potential legal issues can disrupt the academic progress of students, potentially leading to increased dropout rates among marijuana users.

Impact on Mental Health

The psychological effects of marijuana use can also contribute to academic struggles. There is an association between the duration and amount of earlier marijuana use and later neurocognitive impairment, as well as lower academic achievement and functioning [2].

Moreover, the regular use of marijuana during adolescence is associated with an increased likelihood of deleterious consequences, such as impaired brain development, cognitive impairments, and poor grades in school [4].

Additionally, marijuana use can lead to addiction, with approximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana becoming addicted. This number increases to about 1 in 6 among those who start using marijuana as teenagers.

This increased risk of mental health issues, neurocognitive impairments, and addiction can all contribute to the higher dropout rates among college students who use marijuana.

In summary, the behavioral and social effects of marijuana use can have significant impacts on a student's academic performance and mental health, which can ultimately lead to increased dropout rates. It's essential for students to be aware of these potential consequences and for colleges to provide adequate support and resources for students who may be struggling with substance use.

Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Use

Adolescent marijuana usage is linked with significant long-term effects, including neurocognitive impairment and an increased likelihood of addiction and dependency.

Neurocognitive Impairment

One of the severe long-term consequences of adolescent marijuana use is neurocognitive impairment. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there is a strong association between the duration and amount of earlier marijuana use and later neurocognitive impairment. This impairment can manifest as difficulty in comprehending and processing information, problem-solving, and maintaining attention.

Furthermore, this same study revealed that consistent marijuana use over a period of 13 years was significantly associated with lower academic achievement and functioning by the late twenties. This evidence supports the assertion that marijuana use increases the chances of kids becoming college dropouts.

Addiction and Dependence

Addiction and dependence are other serious long-term consequences of adolescent marijuana use. Approximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted. This figure increases to about 1 in 6 among those who start using marijuana as teenagers, according to another study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

The regular use of marijuana during adolescence is also associated with an increased likelihood of deleterious consequences, such as impaired brain development, cognitive impairments, and poor grades in school. This further emphasizes the association between marijuana usage and increased dropout rates in college.

These findings underline the importance of public health efforts aimed at delaying the initiation of marijuana use until adulthood, as well as interventions to prevent progression to regular use among occasional adolescent users. By doing so, we can work to reduce the long-term impact of marijuana use on academic success and mental health.

Cognitive Function Impairments

Marijuana use, particularly when initiated at a young age and used heavily, can lead to cognitive function impairments. These impairments can have a profound effect on an individual's ability to perform academically, potentially leading to increased college dropout rates.

Effects on Executive Functions

Acute cannabis use impairs a range of executive functions, including attention, concentration, information processing, decision-making, risk-taking, inhibition, impulsivity, and working memory. The extent of these impairments can depend on various factors, such as the amount and duration of cannabis use, as well as the individual's tolerance to the drug [3].

The residual effects of cannabis use on these executive functions may persist for several weeks after last use. While abilities such as working memory generally return to normal after cessation of cannabis use, others like decision-making and risk-taking may remain impaired. This could potentially affect a student's ability to function effectively in an academic setting, thereby increasing their chances of dropping out.

Persistent Cognitive Deficits

The long-term effects of cannabis use can be even more concerning. Even after three weeks of abstinence and beyond, impairments in decision-making, concept formation, planning, and verbal fluency may persist. While basic attentional and working memory abilities are largely restored, deficits in decision-making and risk-taking are more enduring.

In addition to these effects on executive functions, chronic THC exposure may hasten age-related loss of hippocampal neurons. In one study, rats exposed to THC every day for 8 months showed a level of nerve cell loss at 11 to 12 months of age that equaled that of unexposed animals twice their age.

Another study tracking nearly 4,000 young adults over a 25-year period found that cumulative lifetime exposure to marijuana was associated with lower scores on a test of verbal memory. This effect was sizable and significant even after adjusting for confounding factors such as demographic factors, other drug and alcohol use, and other psychiatric conditions such as depression.

In conclusion, the cognitive impairments associated with marijuana use, especially in relation to executive functions, can potentially contribute to academic struggles and increased college dropout rates. It's crucial to continue researching and understanding these effects to provide necessary support and intervention for students who use marijuana.

Potential IQ and Memory Loss

The impact of marijuana use, particularly its long-term effects on cognitive abilities, has been a subject of considerable study. The potential for IQ and memory loss is a concern, and research indicates that persistent and heavy marijuana use starting in adolescence can lead to significant cognitive decline.

IQ Points Decline

A large longitudinal study in New Zealand discovered that persistent marijuana use disorder, with frequent use starting in adolescence, was associated with a loss of an average of 6 or up to 8 IQ points measured in mid-adulthood. Individuals who heavily used marijuana as teenagers and quit using as adults did not recover the lost IQ points. Conversely, individuals who only began using marijuana heavily in adulthood did not lose IQ points. This suggests that the timing of marijuana use can significantly impact IQ level.

Two shorter-duration prospective longitudinal twin studies found that youth who used marijuana showed significant declines in verbal ability (equivalent to 4 IQ points) and general knowledge between the preteen years (ages 9 to 12, before use) and late adolescence/early adulthood (ages 17 to 20). However, those who went on to use marijuana at older ages already had lower scores on these measures at the start of the study, before they started using the drug [5].

Long-Term Impact on Intelligence

While the studies indicate a correlation between marijuana use and IQ decline, it remains unclear whether marijuana use causes long-term IQ losses. Further research is needed to explore contributing factors not measured in prior studies, such as the increasing amounts of THC in cannabis and the emergence of new cannabis products [5].

In addition to potential IQ loss, chronic THC exposure may speed up age-related loss of hippocampal neurons, which are crucial for memory and learning. One study found that rats exposed to THC every day for 8 months (approximately 30% of their lifespan) showed a level of nerve cell loss at 11 to 12 months of age that equaled that of unexposed animals twice their age.

The potential for IQ and memory loss due to marijuana use underscores the importance of understanding the risks and consequences of drug use, particularly for adolescents and young adults. It's imperative to spread awareness about these potential risks as part of comprehensive education on drug use and its potential effects.

References

[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586361/

[2]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3638839/

[3]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037578/

[4]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827335/

[5]: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-long-term-effects-brain

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