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Lower risk guidelines / Age of Initial Use


Cannabis and Academics

Cannabis and the Developing Brain 

A US National survey on drug use and health found that youth with poor academic results were four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year than youth with and average of  higher grades (1). 


Meta-analysis has demonstrated that marijuana use is consistently associated with a reduced chance of graduating from school, increased likelihood of unemployment, dependence on welfare, and reduced life satisfaction overall (3).



Cannabis use is associated with brain structural changes and can impair cognitive function (including decision-making, memory, attention) (3). 


One study found cannabis use to be detrimental to youth. As the brain is still undergoing development, especially in frontal cortical regions, cannabis use was associated with negative outcomes regarding decision making, planning, and judgment (2). In similar studies, negative structural and functional cortical changes were present in adolescent cannabis users even after over a month of abstaining from use (3).


Page References:

1. Macleod, J.; Oakes, R.; Copello, A.; Crome, I.; Egger, M.; Hickman, M.; Oppenkowski, T.; Stokes-Lampard, H.; and Davey Smith, G. Psychological and social sequelae of cannabis and other illicit drug use by young people:A systematic review of longitudinal, general population studies. Lancet 363(9421):1579-1588, 2004.

2. Gruber SA, Dahlgren MK, Sagar KA, Gönenç A, Lukas SE. Worth the wait: effects of age of onset of marijuana use on white matter and impulsivity. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;231(8):1455-65.

3. Weir, K. (2015). Marijuana and the developing brain. American Psychological Association, 46(10), 48.

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