Marijuana Use Increases Chances of Kids Becoming College Drop Outs

June 26, 2024

Unveiling the link between marijuana use and college dropouts. Explore the impact, risks, and intervention strategies in this eye-opening article.

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Impact of Marijuana Use on College Students

Marijuana use among college students has been a topic of concern due to its potential impact on academic performance and overall educational outcomes. In this section, we will explore the prevalence of marijuana use in college and the relationship between academic performance and marijuana use.

Prevalence of Marijuana Use in College

Research has shown a significant prevalence of marijuana use among college students. A study conducted in Texas surveyed 14,000 college students at 19 institutions, revealing that nearly 40 percent of the students reported using marijuana and over 26 percent had used it on their campuses. These findings indicate a concerning trend of marijuana use among college students.

Academic Performance and Marijuana Use

Research has consistently indicated a negative association between marijuana use and academic performance among college students. Daily marijuana use among college students reached a historic high of 44 percent in 2020 [1]. Heavy marijuana use has been linked to dropping out of college and poor academic performance.

Studies have shown that the more frequently college students use cannabis, the lower their grade point averages tend to be. Heavy marijuana use is associated with lower GPA, increased likelihood of skipping classes, and longer time to graduation. This suggests that marijuana use can have a detrimental effect on a student's ability to focus, retain information, and perform academically.

Moreover, marijuana use during the first year of college has been found to contribute to poorer academic outcomes. Baseline marijuana use frequency predicts skipping more classes, resulting in lower first-semester GPA and longer time to graduation [2]. These findings emphasize the importance of understanding the impact of marijuana use on academic success.

It is essential for college students to be aware of the potential consequences of marijuana use on their educational journey. Seeking support, exploring alternative stress-management techniques, and prioritizing academic responsibilities can help mitigate the negative effects of marijuana use on academic performance.

In the next sections, we will examine the health risks associated with heavy marijuana use and explore the factors that influence marijuana use among college students. Understanding these factors can provide insights into developing effective intervention strategies to address the issue.

Health Risks of Heavy Marijuana Use

When examining the relationship between marijuana use and college dropouts, it is important to consider the potential health risks associated with heavy marijuana use. Scientific evidence suggests that heavy marijuana use can be detrimental to cognitive functioning and mental health, which can impact academic performance and contribute to college dropout rates.

Cognitive Function Impairment

Heavy and long-term marijuana use has been linked to cognitive function impairment. Working memory, learning, and information processing are essential for academic performance, and marijuana use, especially heavy use, can negatively affect these cognitive processes. Chronic marijuana use poses risks for cognitive functioning, with heavy and long-term users experiencing greater difficulties compared to light users and non-users.

Marijuana use during the critical period of brain development, which occurs in the early 20s, can have long-lasting effects on cognitive abilities. These effects can impact attention, memory, and decision-making skills, all of which are crucial for success in an academic setting. Therefore, heavy marijuana use can contribute to academic challenges that may ultimately lead to college dropouts.

Mental Health Risks

Another significant health risk associated with heavy marijuana use is the potential impact on mental health. Chronic marijuana use has been linked to impaired mental functioning, reduced psychological well-being, and lower cognitive performance, all of which can affect academic outcomes.

Regular use of high-potency cannabis has been shown to increase the risk of cannabis use disorder and adverse mental health outcomes, particularly among young people. The potential negative impact on mental health can manifest as anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, which can significantly interfere with academic performance and contribute to the decision to drop out of college.

Understanding the health risks associated with heavy marijuana use is crucial for both individuals using marijuana and those involved in supporting college students. By recognizing the potential cognitive function impairment and mental health risks, appropriate interventions and support systems can be implemented to help students address these challenges and improve their chances of academic success.

Factors Influencing Marijuana Use

Understanding the factors that influence marijuana use among college students is essential in addressing the issue of marijuana addiction. These influences can be categorized into demographic factors and behavioral correlations.

Demographic Influences

Several demographic factors have been associated with a higher likelihood of marijuana use among college students. Research has shown that students who have at least $100 per month in spending money, attend religious services rarely or never, currently use cigarettes, alcohol, and hookah tobacco, have a history of illicit drug use, and have a higher propensity for sensation seeking are more likely to have used marijuana at least once upon entering college.

Other demographic factors such as Hispanic ethnicity, living on campus, and current use of cigarettes and alcohol have been linked to a higher likelihood of initiating marijuana use during freshman year in college. It's important to note that these factors may not apply to all individuals, as individual experiences and circumstances vary.

Behavioral Correlations

Behavioral correlations also play a significant role in marijuana use among college students. Previous research has identified certain behaviors that are associated with a higher likelihood of marijuana use. College students who are more likely to use marijuana tend to be white, male, single, members of fraternities or sororities, non-athletes, not religious, cigarette smokers, and engage in heavy episodic drinking.

These behavioral correlations provide insights into the patterns of marijuana use among college students. By understanding these factors, educational institutions and policymakers can develop targeted interventions and prevention strategies to address marijuana use and its potential consequences.

It's crucial to remember that these factors are not determinants of marijuana use and that each individual's experience may differ. However, by considering these demographic influences and behavioral correlations, we can gain a better understanding of the underlying factors contributing to marijuana use among college students.

Academic Consequences of Marijuana Use

When examining the impact of marijuana use on college students, it is crucial to understand the potential academic consequences associated with its consumption. This section will delve into the effects on GPA and academic performance, as well as class attendance and graduation rates.

GPA and Academic Performance

Research indicates that marijuana use among college students is associated with lower grade point averages (GPA) and poorer academic performance. According to a study conducted in 2020, daily marijuana use among college students reached a historic high of 44 percent, highlighting the prevalence of this behavior [1]. The more frequently college students consume cannabis, the lower their GPA tends to be, as reported by the Michigan Psychological Association.

Heavy marijuana use has been linked to disruptions in enrollment, reduced rates of degree completion, and difficulties concentrating on academic tasks [5]. Specifically, baseline marijuana use frequency predicts lower first-semester GPA and longer time to graduation, primarily due to increased class skipping [2]. The impairments caused by marijuana use can impact working memory, learning, and information processing, all of which are essential for academic performance.

Class Attendance and Graduation Rates

Marijuana use among college students has been associated with disruptions in class attendance and reduced graduation rates. Frequent cannabis consumption can contribute to a higher likelihood of skipping classes, resulting in lower overall attendance and potentially compromising academic progress. The more frequently college students use marijuana, the more likely they are to report skipping classes, which can have a significant impact on their overall academic performance and progress towards graduation [6].

In addition to class attendance, marijuana use can contribute to longer time to graduation. With increased frequency of cannabis consumption, college students may experience delays in completing their degree requirements, potentially extending their time in college. These delays can be attributed to the academic challenges and cognitive impairments associated with heavy marijuana use, which can hinder a student's ability to progress efficiently through their coursework.

Understanding the academic consequences of marijuana use is crucial for college students and those supporting them. By being aware of these potential effects, students can make informed decisions about their cannabis consumption and take steps to prioritize their academic success. It is important to note that each individual may respond differently to marijuana use, and the impact on academic performance can vary.

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Use

Understanding the long-term effects of marijuana use is crucial, especially in the context of college students and their academic pursuits. In this section, we will explore two significant long-term consequences of marijuana use: delayed graduation and dropout rates, as well as structural changes in the brain.

Delayed Graduation and Dropout Rates

Research has shown that heavy marijuana use during college is associated with delays in enrollment or dropouts from post-secondary education. Individuals with marijuana use disorder are more likely to drop out of college, and heavy marijuana users who do enroll are more likely to experience gaps in enrollment [2]. The impact of marijuana use on academic progress can hinder the timely completion of degree requirements, leading to delayed graduation or even discontinuation of studies.

It's important to note that the relationship between marijuana use and delayed graduation or dropout rates is complex and influenced by various factors. Other elements such as co-occurring mental health issues, socioeconomic factors, and individual circumstances can contribute to the decision to discontinue education. However, heavy marijuana use has been identified as a significant contributing factor to these academic setbacks.

Structural Changes in the Brain

Long-term, heavy use of marijuana has been associated with changes in brain structure. These changes can affect functions such as information processing, IQ, memory, and attention. Research has shown that chronic marijuana use can lead to alterations in the brain, even after weeks of abstinence.

The impact of these structural changes on academic performance is significant. Working memory, learning, and information processing are essential cognitive functions for academic success. Marijuana use can impair these functions, leading to difficulties in comprehending and retaining information, decreased cognitive flexibility, and impaired problem-solving skills. Early onset of marijuana use has also been linked to lower levels of academic functioning, further emphasizing the importance of addressing marijuana use among college students.

Understanding the long-term effects of marijuana use on academic outcomes is crucial for college students. Recognizing the potential delays in graduation and dropout rates, as well as the structural changes in the brain, can help individuals make informed decisions regarding their marijuana use. It is important to consider the potential impact on academic success and overall well-being while navigating the complex landscape of college life.

Intervention Strategies for College Students

When it comes to addressing the issue of marijuana use among college students and its potential impact on academic performance and dropout rates, implementing effective intervention strategies is crucial. By focusing on prevention measures and early intervention programs, colleges can provide support and resources to students facing challenges related to marijuana use.

Prevention Measures

Prevention is key when it comes to minimizing the negative consequences of marijuana use among college students. Colleges can implement various prevention measures to educate students about the potential risks and encourage responsible decision-making. These measures may include:

  • Educational campaigns: Colleges can launch awareness campaigns that provide accurate information about the risks associated with marijuana use, dispelling myths and promoting informed choices.
  • Counseling services: Offering counseling services that address substance abuse issues can provide students with a safe and confidential space to discuss their concerns and seek guidance.
  • Peer support programs: Peer-led initiatives, such as support groups or mentoring programs, can create a supportive environment where students feel comfortable discussing their experiences and seeking advice from their peers.
  • Campus policies: Implementing and enforcing clear campus policies regarding substance use can help establish a culture that discourages excessive or irresponsible marijuana use.

By actively engaging students through prevention measures, colleges can encourage responsible decision-making and reduce the likelihood of marijuana-related academic challenges.

Early Intervention Programs

Identifying and addressing marijuana use early on is crucial for supporting students and preventing further negative consequences. Early intervention programs can be effective in providing the necessary resources and support to students who may be at risk. These programs may include:

  • Screening and assessment: Conducting regular screenings or assessments to identify students who may be struggling with marijuana use or experiencing related challenges.
  • Counseling and therapy: Providing access to individual or group counseling sessions where students can explore their substance use and develop coping strategies.
  • Referrals to treatment: For students who require additional support, early intervention programs can offer referrals to specialized treatment centers or professionals experienced in substance abuse counseling.
  • Collaborative support networks: Establishing partnerships with community organizations or local support groups can provide students with a wider range of resources and support options.

By implementing early intervention programs, colleges can address marijuana use issues promptly, offering students the assistance they need to overcome challenges and maintain their academic progress.

It is important to note that intervention strategies should be tailored to the specific needs of the student population and consider cultural sensitivities. By providing comprehensive support and resources, colleges can help students navigate the complexities of marijuana use and promote academic success.

For more information on marijuana use among college students and its impact on academic performance, refer to our previous sections on academic consequences and long-term effects.

References

[1]: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2023/02/23/study-increased-marijuana-use-college-campuses

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

[3]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4835174/

[5]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4098711/

[6]: https://www.michiganpsychologicalassociation.org/index.php?option=com_dailyplanetblog&view=entry&year=2021&month=10&day=31&id=141:college-students-marijsona-use-and-academic-performance

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