Researchers from Arizona State University conducted a study to determine if the link between smoking marijuana and poor performance in school was affected by the social class of the student.
The data showed that cannabis users in both lower and upper economic classes did worse in school, proving that it isn’t the social environment that determines academic success.
The study was conducted by Arizona State University’s Department of Psychology and published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Researchers initiated the study in order explore the idea that low socioeconomic status explains the link between smoking marijuana and poorer academic performance and mental health.
“A key question, therefore, is whether adolescent cannabis use is associated with poorer academic performance and mental health in high SES communities where there is reduced potential for confounding,” according to the study’s abstract.
The study included 254 youths from an upper middle class community aged 14 to 15 and 17 to 18. The researchers tracked the student’s progress for four years of high school.
The researchers measured the amount of cannabis used each year and compared it to the official school records of academic performance, in addition to self-reported mental health symptoms.
Frequent marijuana use was linked to low grade-point average for four years that the students attended high school.
In addition, smoking marijuana often in 12th grade was also associated with lower Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score and greater mental health symptoms that were directed outward.
Broadening The Scope
Researchers found that students who regularly used alcohol and tobacco had the same effect. However, once alcohol and tobacco use was added to the mix, it was hard to discern what substance was causing the effect.
Marijuana use isn’t significant if the student is also drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.
The findings show that a student’s economic status in a lower class didn’t explain the link between cannabis use, poorer academic performance and difficulties with mental health. Marijuana use seems to negatively impact students of all social classes, not just those who are suffering from poverty.
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