Jun 142013
 June 14, 2013

Marijuana dumb stupid brain cells academics college studyingOne of my biggest pet peeves is when non-marijuana consumers assume that I am less intelligent than they are, simply because I consume marijuana and they don’t. It’s a stereotype that I have dealt with for more than half of my life. Do readers have to deal with this as often as I do? For what it’s worth to readers, I graduated from college, and was selected as ‘student of the year’ for my program, and I smoked marijuana everyday. Below is an article that deals with this very issue, and the debate over whether marijuana gets in the way of success in college:

By Amanda Reiman, Drug Policy Alliance

A recent article in USA Today about a report by the University of Maryland School of Public Health claims that marijuana use is the cause of academic downfall, including making students less likely to complete college and increasing the likelihood of unemployment after graduation.

However, a closer look at the actual study reveals a more complicated picture than USA Today would have you believe.

The USA Today article lacks face validity. Even from the title, “Study: Marijuana use increases risk of academic problems,” the public is going to be skeptical.  After all, we know that our last three presidents used marijuana, as have Steve Jobs, Carl Sagan and a host of others that we don’t buy as having “academic problems.”

Alcohol use has been mysteriously omitted from the USA Today article about the study. When looking at the original report, it can be seen that alcohol use is occurring at a higher rate than marijuana use (95% of fourth year college students have had a drink compared to 63% who have tried marijuana).

Furthermore, outcomes such as discontinued college education and the inability to find a job after college could very well have more to do with the illicit nature of marijuana and the collateral sanctions associated with its use, then the impact of the psychoactive properties of marijuana.

Requirements regarding the disclosure of a felony conviction to obtain employment are another barrier that has little to do with the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

In the actual report, the conclusions are more nuanced than those in USA Today. The authors of the study conclude that it is “excessive” drinking and substance use that put kids at risk for poor academic performance. The authors report that these issues often begin in high school and could be related to mental health issues.

The real take home messages from this study? First, adolescents who are drinking and/or using substances (including prescription drugs) excessively while in high school should be paid attention. They could be self-medicating for an undiagnosed mental health issue, or having a tough time socially or academically.

Secondly, using alcohol and marijuana seem to be a normative part of the college experience since they are so common, but, for some students, they can be part of a chain reaction that includes lower academic performance and adjustment. Services should be freely available to students who are struggling.

Finally, although not explicitly mentioned, policies that interrupt and prevent access to education because of substance use should be reconsidered. The report authors state that the more engaged the student is with their academic activities, the less likely they are to use alcohol and other substances excessively.

Is denying access to education and employment a way to make young people more engaged? Not likely.

In addition to providing services for students who find themselves using alcohol and/or other substances excessively, college campuses should actively speak out against the collateral sanctions of substance use that are standing in the way of educational obtainment.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

Powered by

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Jamie Guest

    I live with multiple anxiety disorders that would lock me in the house if left out of control. Many of my family members take pharmaceuticals like Amitryptaline (SP?) and the Wellbutrin-Abilify cocktail the MDs hand out to any1. When i was young i did all sorts of drugs and alcohol to fit into a crowd but then i learned the crowd meant nothing and i was just too mental to be out socializing. Once i stopped everything and found Indica I started functioning again. I can not eat or sleep or go to work to build my beautiful furniture if i let my anxiety get out of control. Daily dose of natural herb makes me MORE intelligent quite frankly and i still have the ability to “feel” as a bonus.

    • Ryan

      Same boat. Xanax, anti depressants, ALL made me feel like absolute and total shit. NOTHING has EVER relieved my anxiety/depression the way cannabis does. After One bowl, I can actually eat, sleep, and function like a normal human.

  • Guest

    I’m a “special occasions only” guy when it comes to marijuana. It does not make you stupid whatsover. But if you’re like me and have no clue where to get it…and its not legal. When you do get to smoke, you’re giddily stupider than everyone else because you missed it so much. Thus, since I’m new to it, I come out of the high with a bunch of pseudo-philosophical musings on life…and a litany of “funny” ideas for books, websites, and business. Pot makes you think, and its an acquired taste – you’re not gonna just be chill as everyone if you pretty much never do it.

  • Guest

    Is intelligence having an idea that has no basis on anything real – but its incredibly funny, interesting, or deep while stoned? I was recently stoned and has some “great” ideas, after dinner and some water, suddenly I realized how no one could relate to those idea unless I was doing a “Tim and Eric” type show, or constantly surrounded by wake-and-bakers. If your not pandering to stoners, your pot-mystic ideas are most often BS. As long as you realize that being high isn’t giving you super powers, I’m pretty sure its a very positive thing. Pot is put on way too high of a pedestal.

  • Oregongreen

    I am really not sure. I have some beautiful, great, and just fun ideas when I’m stoned. They don’t happen any other time. If pot were legal in Oregon, and we didn’t have to sneak around – maybe we could all figure out just what we like. Not every strain works for everyone. The only stupid part of getting stoned for me is that I am WAY too excited to find someone with pot that I look like an idiot.

    • Brian

      I live in Oregon, and I always have weed lol

  • Shepherd

    Good article. Edit more closely if you want to make a point. Everyday problems don’t happen every day.

  • professor Muir

    If it made you less intelligent it would be legal

  • http://www.mojomoon.net/ J Licciardi Martinez

    Above average I.Q & a Daily toker. Plus…I think it makes me smarter. It has kept me from killing several people and therefore out of jail, so……..

    • SwizzIce

      same here

      • charles

        THATS CAUSE IT LOWERS TESTOSTERONE, STUDIES SHOW, N YOUD BE SMATER WITHOUT IT N DUMBER WITH IT. STARS QUIT N CLAIM GREATER SUCCESS, N WITH LESS EFFORT. OTHERS NEVER LIKED IT:. ANGUS YOUNG (HOWARD STERN INTERVIEW N 88 MTV INTERVIEW. ALSO MULTI -TALENTED HENRY ROLLINGETC>>>>>

  • Richard S. Bank

    What is the point? Weed makes it harder to graduate and therefor we should give smokers criminal records and send them to prison..

    • elcuervo

      #sarcasm
      There, I fixed that for you. ;)

    • dominic fuc ya later

      richard you dont know shit do you ? weed helps alot of people like people with cancers they have to take kemo therapy and that ruins their ability to be hungry and want to eat. weed helps them get there apetite back and alotta rich people use weed and they graduATED IT DEPENDS ON THE PERSON YOU should be sent to prison for being a dumb ass who likes to open his mouth

      • charles carpenter

        POT SMOKERS HAD DOUBLE TETICAL CANCER!

        • charles

          SORRY WRITTING TO FAST THATS TESTICAL CANCER: KEYBOARD SKIPPING

  • elcuervo

    Nope, not the sacred herb, but Fox News seems to make a lot of people stupid – or did they just come that way right out of the egg?

  • SwizzIce

    @richardsbank:disqus You sound dumb As Shit and need to be smack

  • charles

    BETTER WITHOUT IT N WORST WITHIT : UNDERSTAND? CHUCK NORRIS KICKSTART PROGRAM SHOWS KIDS GETTING OFF DRUGS N GRADES GET BETTER N ATTENDANCE ALSO. CELEBRITIES WHO QUIT CLAIM LESS EFFORT NEEDED TO BE SUCCESSFULL, MANY TOP STARS NEVER LIKED IT LIKE HENRY ROLLING( OF PUNK BAND BLACK FLAG, HES AJOURNALIST< HES A WRITTER>>>>

  • charles

    POT SMOKERS ACTUALLY HAD HIGHER TESTICAL CANCER THAN NON SMOKERS!

    • Jamie Guest

      You got issues and made yourself seem stupid with all of this…pothead or not… stupid is as stupid says and does. read a few more up to date studies man. don’t follow the propaganda. we should all be free to choose stupid or not

  • mcvmccarty

    the only scientifically important question is: does marijuana make you less intelligent than YOU could be, when compared WITH YOURSELF? the fact that you completely missed this point right off the bat, and furthermore apparently care about how others rate your intellect compared to theirs puts you at about an average intelligence or below. no offense intended. if marijuana risks further impairing that intelligence, well, that’s a risk you must be willing to take when balanced with your perceived benefits of use. i work with a lot of different people. some whom i know smoke, and others i know who don’t. i’ve noticed a pattern of memory problems in the mj smoking cohort. this is separate from intellect, obviously, but can be a big problem in my line of work, where memory is crucial. i have no problem with mj itself, and have smoked in the past. but it probably needs to be studied more carefully to truly determine what long term neurological effects it may have, particularly with daily use. you try to make a point, stating our last 3 presidents, carl sagan and steve jobs have used marijuana, noting that they were high-functioning, and very likely not impaired. yet you don’t even hint at their level of consumption, which is essentially dishonest. now, if you could prove to me that barack obama had gone through at least 1 extended period (a few months) of near-daily marijuana use recently (within 2-3 years of being elected to politics) without any effect on memory or cognition, well then you’re actually making a point. granted, this is very hard to prove, hence we need more studies. anyway, those kinds of points hold water when speaking to those who agree with you, but you’re only weakening your argument with those kinds of statements when you bring them to a debate.