The Effect that Marijuana Has on Academic Performance

Researchers who work with colleges often hear young people say things like marijuana is “natural”, “safe”, or most often, that it’s “just weed…no big deal”, but a growing body of evidence, including recent research from the University of Washington, says that weed may be a very big deal indeed.

Stronger Strains

This is especially true with the super-potent cannabis products that are now increasingly available. Most college students – in fact, most Americans – do not realize the average THC content found in marijuana samples has increased dramatically within the last generation.

In 1995, most marijuana contained less than 4% THC. But today, the average strain has about 15% – almost 4 times the amount.

Of even more concern, dispensaries sell specialty products such as oils, concentrates, and wax that contain over 80% THC.

In other words, this isn’t your parents’ pot.

Young People Are at Greater Risk

All of this matters because the human brain continues to develop until the mid-’20s. This means that college-age students’ brains are still maturing and especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of ANY drug, including marijuana.

John Schulenberg, with the Monitoring the Future study, says, “Daily marijuana use is a clear health risk. The brain is still developing in the early 20s, and as the Surgeon General and others have reported, the scientific evidence indicates that heavy marijuana use can be detrimental to cognitive functioning and mental health.

This is especially concerning because daily marijuana use among college students is at an all-time high.

Impaired Academic Performance

Published research has consistently shown that the more frequently a student uses marijuana:

The most direct negative impact on academic performance is the link between marijuana use and impaired memory, decreased attention, and lowered I.Q.

There Is Good News

Encouragingly, studies of individuals abstaining from marijuana found that when use stops, cognitive performance does improve… after 28 days of abstinence. Obviously, much of this depends on the person’s consumption habits – how often they use, the potency of marijuana they use, etc.

The Bottom Line

An August 2021 study examining lower-risk marijuana use recommended that users who experience impaired cognitive performance should change their habits, and possibly stop using marijuana altogether.

If you are experiencing problems because of marijuana use and you are still finding it hard to quit on your own, our brief self-assessment can help determine if you need specialized professional help.

And if you live in Southern California, your first and best resource is Lasting Recovery, one of the top outpatient rehab programs for marijuana dependence in San Diego.

Currently, Lasting Recovery offers telehealth treatment services, allowing you to get the help you need from the safety, privacy, and convenience of your own home, via a secure Internet connection.

For more information, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.

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