School

How does marijuana affect school life?

WHAT WE KNOW:  Since the negative effects of marijuana on teens’ attention, memory and learning can linger for days or even weeks, a student who uses frequently may be regularly operating at a reduced mental capacity at school. Marijuana use, especially among young users, has been shown to have a connection to lower grades, skipping classes, studying less, and an increased potential for dropping out. Increasing teen use of vaping and edibles raises the concern of student marijuana consumption while actually on campus. Social life is also affected and teens who use marijuana are less likely to participate in school activities.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW:  The causal relationship between marijuana use and its affect on school life and performance requires further research. However, marijuana users self-report a perceived influence on a variety of poor outcomes and low achievement.

Can cannabis use impact high school completion?

WHAT WE KNOW:  Students who frequently smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades, have higher truancy and are more likely to drop out of high school. Studies have shown that compared with students who never use marijuana, those who were daily users before age 17 had clear reduction in rates of high school graduation and also a reduced chance of achieving a college degree. In fact, teens under the age of 17 who use cannabis daily are 60% less likely to graduate from high school than their peers.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW:  Further studies could focus on relative dose, potency and frequency of use, especially in combination with alcohol.

What are the predicted adult life outcomes for heavy marijuana users?

WHAT WE KNOW:  Beyond youth school performance, heavy cannabis use has also been linked to lower income, unemployment and a lower satisfaction with life. Users also report less career success and more relationship problems. Long-term, frequent users may experience marijuana addiction and experience withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW:  As with youth use, more studies are needed to understand the long-term implications for marijuana use in adults.

“I hate what marijuana does to my students. It goes beyond missing homework assignments. My students become less curious when they start smoking pot. It narrows my students' minds until they only reference the world in relation to the drug.”

Veteran high school teacher, Humans of New York, 2015