Marijuana Use Increases Chances of Kids Becoming College Drop Outs

Discover how marijuana use impacts college success. From GPA to dropouts, uncover the long-term consequences.

July 2, 2024

Marijuana Use and College Success

Understanding the impact of marijuana use on college success is an important area of study. This section explores the trends in college marijuana use and the impact it has on academic performance.

Trends in College Marijuana Use

Recent studies have revealed concerning trends in marijuana use among college students. A study conducted in Texas surveyed 14,000 college students at 19 institutions and found that nearly 40 percent of the students reported using marijuana, with over 26 percent using it on their campuses. Additionally, daily marijuana use among college students reached a historic high of 44 percent in 2020.

These statistics highlight the prevalence of marijuana use among college students and indicate a need for further understanding of its potential consequences on academic success.

Impact on Academic Performance

Numerous studies have shown a negative association between marijuana use and academic performance among college students. Heavy marijuana use has been linked to dropping out of college and poor academic performance.

Research suggests that heavy marijuana use is associated with lower GPA, increased likelihood of skipping classes, and longer time to graduation among college students. Baseline marijuana use frequency has been found to predict skipping more classes, resulting in lower first-semester GPA and longer time to graduation.

Increases in marijuana use over time have also been shown to predict declines in GPA among college students [2]. These findings emphasize the importance of understanding the impact of marijuana use on academic success and the need for further research in this area.

The relationship between marijuana use and college success is complex, and various factors, such as state legalization and mental health trends, can influence marijuana use among college students. These factors will be further explored in the subsequent sections.

Factors Influencing Marijuana Use

Understanding the factors that contribute to marijuana use is crucial in comprehending its impact on college students and the potential increase in college dropouts. Two significant factors that influence marijuana use among college students are state legalization and mental health trends.

State Legalization

The increasing trend of state legalization has played a significant role in the rising popularity of marijuana use among college students. As more states have relaxed legal penalties and regulations surrounding marijuana, the perceived risks associated with its use have decreased. This reduced risk perception, coupled with easier access to cannabis products, has contributed to the higher rates of marijuana use among college students.

According to a study, one-third of college students in the United States reported using marijuana within the past year, with 19.8% reporting past-month use. The legislative actions relaxing legal penalties have potentially influenced the decreased perception of risk associated with marijuana use.

Mental Health Trends

Mental health trends, particularly those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, have also been identified as contributing factors to increased marijuana use among college students. The pandemic has brought about lifestyle changes, psychosocial stressors, and an increase in mental health disorders. These factors have led to higher rates of marijuana use as individuals seek relief from stress, anxiety, and depression.

Studies have shown a link between marijuana use and mental health disorders such as psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, and anxiety. In fact, eliminating marijuana use among adolescents could potentially decrease global rates of schizophrenia by 10%.

Understanding the factors that contribute to marijuana use among college students is essential in addressing the potential consequences it may have on academic performance and college success. By recognizing the influence of state legalization and mental health trends, educational institutions and policymakers can develop strategies to promote healthy choices and support the well-being of college students.

Academic Effects of Marijuana Use

The impact of marijuana use on academic performance is a significant concern, particularly among college students. Understanding the effects of marijuana use on GPA, academic performance, and class attendance can provide valuable insights into the potential risks associated with its use.

GPA and Academic Performance

Research has shown a clear association between marijuana use and academic performance. Daily marijuana use among college students reached a historic high of 44 percent in 2020, with heavy marijuana use being linked to dropping out of college and poor academic performance. Increases in marijuana use over time have been found to predict declines in GPA among college students.

Students who use marijuana more frequently during their first year of college tend to skip more classes, leading to lower grades. Baseline measures of alcohol use and other illicit drug use also contribute to this effect on academic performance. Published studies have consistently shown that post-secondary students who use marijuana often have lower GPAs, spend less time studying for classes, and achieve academic milestones, such as graduation, at a slower pace.

It is important to note that marijuana use is associated with dropping out of college, poorer performance on exams and projects, and lower class attendance. These factors can hinder academic achievement and impede the successful completion of a college degree [4].

Class Attendance and Graduation

Marijuana use can have a direct impact on class attendance and graduation rates among college students. Baseline marijuana use frequency predicts skipping more classes, resulting in lower first-semester GPA and longer time to graduation. This effect can endure for several years, as baseline marijuana use frequency during the first year of college delays graduation, primarily through its influence on class attendance and GPA at baseline [2].

Heavier patterns of marijuana use have been found to be incompatible with regular class attendance, leading to lower grades. This delayed graduation can be attributed to the influence of marijuana use on class attendance and its subsequent impact on GPA. Therefore, prevention and early intervention are crucial in promoting academic achievement in post-secondary education.

The academic effects of marijuana use, including its impact on GPA, class attendance, and graduation rates, highlight the need for awareness and education regarding the potential risks associated with marijuana use among college students. By understanding these effects, individuals can make informed decisions about their substance use and prioritize their academic success.

Long-Term Consequences

When it comes to marijuana use and its impact on college success, there are several long-term consequences to consider. These consequences can have a significant influence on an individual's academic journey, potentially leading to delays in enrollment and an increased likelihood of dropping out of post-secondary education.

Delays in Enrollment

Longitudinal studies have shown that frequent marijuana use during college can be a barrier to academic achievement, with individuals being less likely to enroll in college and more likely to experience gaps in enrollment [2]. This delay in enrollment can disrupt an individual's educational path and hinder their progress towards earning a degree. It's important to note that the impact of marijuana use on enrollment can vary depending on factors such as the frequency and intensity of use, as well as individual circumstances and motivations.

Dropouts and Post-Secondary Education

Heavy marijuana use during college has been associated with an increased risk of dropping out of post-secondary education. Individuals with marijuana use disorder are particularly vulnerable to this outcome. The impairments caused by marijuana use, such as decreased motivation and cognitive function, can contribute to a lack of engagement in college and difficulties in focusing on academic pursuits. These challenges may ultimately lead to a decision to discontinue education.

It's worth noting that the relationship between marijuana use and college dropout rates is complex, influenced by various factors including individual characteristics, socioeconomic status, and mental health. However, research suggests that heavy and long-term marijuana use can have a negative impact on an individual's ability to succeed in post-secondary education.

Understanding the long-term consequences of marijuana use in relation to college success is essential for individuals and institutions alike. By recognizing the potential risks and addressing them through education, prevention programs, and support services, we can work towards creating an environment that promotes academic achievement and well-being. For more information on marijuana addiction and its impact, refer to our article on marijuana addiction statistics.

Marijuana Use Disorder

Marijuana use disorder, characterized by the heavy and frequent use of marijuana, has been associated with negative consequences in various aspects of life, including academic performance and college dropout rates. Understanding the association between marijuana use disorder and college outcomes is essential in addressing the potential risks and promoting success among students.

Association with Dropout Rates

Research has shown that heavy marijuana use during college can lead to delays in enrollment or dropping out of post-secondary education. Individuals with marijuana use disorder are more likely to experience difficulties in completing their college education.

Frequent marijuana use has been linked to a higher likelihood of dropping out of college compared to non-users. The impact of marijuana use disorder on academic success can be attributed to various factors, including decreased motivation, impaired cognitive function, and increased risk-taking behavior. These factors can ultimately hinder a student's ability to meet academic requirements and persist in their college journey.

Effects on Graduation Time

Marijuana use disorder can also have a significant impact on the time it takes for individuals to graduate from college. Longitudinal studies have shown that frequent marijuana users are less likely to enroll in college and more likely to experience gaps in enrollment. This can result in prolonged completion of degree programs and hinder timely graduation.

The cognitive effects of heavy marijuana use, such as impairments in working memory, learning, and information processing, can directly impact academic performance and contribute to a longer time to graduation. Additionally, long-term, heavy marijuana use has been associated with structural changes in the brain that can further impact cognitive functions necessary for academic success.

To support college students in avoiding the negative consequences associated with marijuana use disorder, prevention and early intervention strategies are crucial. Promoting awareness of the potential risks, providing education on responsible substance use, and offering resources for intervention and treatment can help students make informed choices and maintain their academic progress.

It is important to note that the impact of marijuana use disorder on college outcomes is a complex issue influenced by various individual, social, and environmental factors. By addressing these factors and providing support systems, colleges and universities can contribute to the success and well-being of their students.

Cognitive Impairments

When examining the impact of marijuana use on academic success, it is important to consider the potential cognitive impairments that can arise from heavy and long-term marijuana use. These impairments can have significant consequences for working memory, learning, and brain structure.

Working Memory and Learning

Heavy marijuana use has been associated with impairments in working memory and learning, both of which are essential for academic performance. Working memory refers to the ability to hold and manipulate information in the mind over short periods of time. It plays a crucial role in tasks such as comprehension, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Studies have shown that long-term, heavy marijuana use can lead to challenges in working memory, making it more difficult for individuals to retain and manipulate information effectively. This can have a direct impact on learning, as students may struggle to absorb and retain new knowledge and concepts.

Structural Changes in the Brain

Long-term, heavy marijuana use has been linked to changes in the structure of the brain, which can affect cognitive functions, including information processing, IQ, memory, attention, and neurocognitive performance. These structural changes can persist even after weeks of abstinence from marijuana use.

The effects of these structural changes may include difficulties in concentration, memory retrieval, and overall cognitive performance. These impairments can pose challenges for students in their academic pursuits, potentially hindering their ability to succeed in college.

It is important to note that the cognitive impairments associated with marijuana use are more likely to occur with heavy and long-term use. Occasional or moderate use may not have the same significant impact on cognitive functions.

To mitigate the potential cognitive impairments associated with marijuana use, prevention and early intervention are crucial. Educating individuals, particularly young adults, about the potential risks and consequences of heavy marijuana use can help promote informed decision-making and minimize the impact on academic performance.

Understanding the potential cognitive impairments caused by marijuana use provides insights into the challenges that students may face when trying to succeed academically. By addressing these concerns and providing appropriate support, colleges can help students overcome these barriers and promote their long-term educational success.

References

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