How Does Smoking Marijuana Affect School Performance? | Kiowa County Press

Marijuana use among college students during the pandemic has reached record levels, data shows. wildpixel via Getty Images

Jason R. Kilmer, Washington University and Christine M. Lee, Washington University

In a trend that coincided with the pandemic, student marijuana use in 2020 has reached levels not seen since the 1980s. That’s according to the latest research from Monitoring the Future – an annual survey that examines cannabis use. drugs and alcohol among the country’s youth. Below, Jason R. Kilmer and Christine M. Lee – both researchers at Washington University School of Medicine who study marijuana use among college students – explain some of the reasons for this trend and some of its consequences. .

Why is marijuana so popular among college students lately?

Research has consistently shown that people report using marijuana to feel better, to experience heightened feelings, to increase social connections, or to cope with certain feelings and moods.

Among young adults at the start of the pandemic, there were slight reductions in motivations to use marijuana for celebratory reasons and slight increases in marijuana use due to boredom, possibly due to initial physical distancing warrants and stay-at-home orders. However, among the main reasons for use, both before and during the pandemic, is the feeling of pleasure or euphoria associated with using marijuana.

We do not yet know the impact of these shifting motivations for marijuana use or whether the trends seen during the pandemic will continue afterwards.

How many students actually use cannabis?

With 18 states legalizing non-medical or “recreational” cannabis – the first of which did so in 2012 – access to marijuana has increased, especially for students over the age of 21. While the latest three reports from Monitoring the Future – a national survey of drug use conducted annually by the University of Michigan – have shown that between 43% and 44% of students report having used cannabis in the past year. ‘past year, more than half of students do not report use. This is important to note because research has shown that when people think “everyone” is doing something, they are more likely to start doing it themselves or to do more of it.

Different from any usage in the past year, researchers often view the past month’s usage as an indicator of current usage. Given that around 25% of college students report using marijuana in the past month, this suggests that three-quarters of college students do not report using marijuana in the past month and that not using marijuana is in fact the most common behavior.

How Does Smoking Weed Affect School Performance?

As researchers who work with college students, we hear from college students that things like marijuana are “safe,” “natural,” or “just weed,” but the research tells a very different story. on the potential risks. This is especially true with high potency cannabis dominating the markets in legal and medical states.

Published research consistently shows that the more frequently a student uses cannabis, the lower their GPA tends to be, the more they report skipping classes and the longer it takes them to graduate.

Perhaps the most direct impact on academic performance is the relationship between marijuana use and attention and memory impairment. This relationship has been documented for years, including with college students.

The good news is that studies that track people who abstain show that when marijuana use stops, cognitive performance improves, although it may take 28 days of abstinence. Much depends on how often a person uses and the type or potency of marijuana they consume. But whatever the case, it certainly seems that the more frequently people use, the more likely they are to experience problems with attention, memory, and other cognitive abilities.

In an August 2021 article on recommended guidelines for low-risk cannabis use, the authors concluded that people who use cannabis and have impaired cognitive performance should consider taking a break or drastically reducing their use. or the potency of what they consume.

Are there any academic or educational benefits?

In our conversations with students, we hear some students who typically use marijuana say that when they are not using marijuana they cannot sit still or feel restless and anxious. These students might assume that using marijuana is “helping” them.

Unfortunately, the anxiety and restlessness they experience when not using marijuana can be symptoms of withdrawal. These things could also indicate cannabis addiction, or something called a cannabis use disorder. This may mean that when students continue to use marijuana, they may experience less anxiety or restlessness, but in fact stop withdrawal symptoms by resuming use.

We are not aware of any studies that point to the academic or educational benefits of using marijuana.

Are we forgetting something?

Science must catch up on the cannabis products sold today. Of the many cannabinoids in cannabis, THC, the psychoactive component commonly associated with the “high” in marijuana, is arguably the most studied. In the United States, THC concentrations in the 1970s were on average less than 2%, reached 3% in the 1980s, were 4% in the mid-1990s, and have steadily climbed to almost 15% in 2018.

Today, especially in legal markets, we are seeing even higher concentrations. For example, in Washington state, floral products – that is, smoked marijuana – typically exceed 20% THC. Concentrates, which include dabs, hash oil, and other products, consistently exceed 60% THC.

“High potency” cannabis is considered to contain more than 10% THC. The use of high potency cannabis is associated with a number of outcomes, including an increased risk of cannabis use disorders and mental health issues.

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Young people seem particularly vulnerable. Although people sometimes tell us that using marijuana does not seem so risky, recent studies clearly indicate that using cannabis can increase the harms and risks for those who use it. For students, these issues range from difficulty concentrating and paying attention to feeling antisocial or paranoid.

The conversation

Jason R. Kilmer, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Washington University and Christine M. Lee, Research Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Washington University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

About Florence M. Sorensen

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