With all the calls to legalize marijuana and weed’s popularity among young people, it’s important to keep in mind that the drug isn’t completely harmless.
As WebMD reported, a study published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors found that those who smoked pot tended to skip class, and the more they smoked, the more they skipped. Missed classes led to lower GPAs and delayed graduation.
The study followed 1,100 students over eight years. The research team, led by Amelia Arria, who is an associate professor of behavioral and community health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said other factors were accounted for in the study, including use of alcohol and other drugs, extracurriculars and sports involvement, and psychological issues.
Students were followed starting their freshman year. 37 percent said they’d smoked marijuana at least once in the past 30 days, and among these smokers, the average student lit up six days a month.
Arria noted that not only were the skipped classes an important finding in the study, but also that students “may be less engaged in college life, and may not be taking advantage of all the opportunities it presents.”
WedMD also included statements from Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, which seeks to legalize marijuana. He believes that the skipped classes cannot specifically be blamed all on the pot, but feels it’s more likely to do with student’s tendencies to “rebel.”
Armentano noted that “correlation is not causation, and it would not appear that there is anything unique to cannabis [marijuana] that would cause those who experiment with it to skip classes.”
Based on the findings, Arria believes that college academic help centers should be aware of the pot connection. While she noted that “students often see marijuana as benign,” when it comes to asking about usage, “that alone may help them be more self-reflective and make better choices.”
Arria also had a message for parents, who “need to know that their investment in college could be compromised by marijuana use” and policymakers when it comes to “whether to make marijuana more available.”
A teacher of 25 years in New York has noted the same thing, no research or study necessary. He writes of how “I hate what marijuana does to my students.”
In many ways, the findings are obvious ones and shouldn’t require a study to be discussing them. Whether young people believe in legalizing marijuana or not, there are important consequences to consider with its usage.