Consumption of alcohol and marijuana associated with lower GPA in college

March 8, 2017
Bar plot of GPA (estimated marginal means) across semesters by cluster. Post-hoc between-group analysis (using a sidak correction for multiple comparisons) is also indicated. Between-cluster, post-hoc significances are marked as follows: ***p<0.001, **p<0.005,*p<0.01. Note: Error bars represent standard error of mean. Credit: Meda et al. (2017)

College students who consume medium-to-high levels of alcohol and marijuana have a consistently lower GPA, according to a study published March 8, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Shashwath Meda from Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living, USA, and colleagues.

Alcohol and are the two most abused substances in US colleges, but little is known about the effect of consuming both on students' academic performance. The authors of the present study examined the association between ' and and their grade point average (GPA) in each semester. They used data from the Brain and Alcohol Research in College Students study, which tracked 1,142 students for two years after they began , and using self-reported data they clustered them into groups of low users or medium-to-high users of alcohol or both substances.

Despite no differences in pre-college SAT scores, researchers found that students who were medium-to-high users of both substances not only had a lower predicted college GPA on average by the end of the first semester, but continued to achieve lower GPAs throughout the two years of the study. Those students who consumed medium-to-high levels of alcohol but little marijuana started out with a lower predicted GPA, but there was no difference compared to low users at the end of the study. Some students decreased their substance use over time, and their GPA increased relative to their peers who remained consistent in their drug use patterns.

Whilst the results only indicate an association between substance use and lower GPA scores, the study nonetheless adds to the understanding of how alcohol and marijuana use may play a role in .

"Doing a lot of both drugs had a significant impact, in terms of lower grades in our study, and in other studies, with number of leaves of absences and those who dropped out of school," said Godfrey Pearlson, senior author of the study.

Explore further: High schoolers with mental health issues more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana

More information: Meda SA, Gueorguieva RV, Pittman B, Rosen RR, Aslanzadeh F, Tennen H, et al. (2017) Longitudinal influence of alcohol and marijuana use on academic performance in college students. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0172213. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172213

Related Stories

High schoolers with mental health issues more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana

August 2, 2016
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health with collaborators at the Federal University of Sao Paulo studied the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and patterns of substance use among high ...

Adolescent alcohol and marijuana use leads to poor academic performance, health problems

June 14, 2016
Adolescents who use both marijuana and alcohol during middle school and high school are more likely to have poor academic performance and mental health during high school, according to a new study by the nonprofit RAND Corporation ...

1.2 million U.S. college students boozing on average day

May 26, 2016
(HealthDay)—When they're not hitting the books, many U.S. college students are hitting the bars or getting high, a new government report shows.

Intimate partner violence among youth linked to suicide, weapons and drug use

February 1, 2017
Adolescents who are violent toward their romantic partners are also more likely to think about or attempt suicide, carry a weapon, threaten others with a weapon and use drugs or alcohol than peers in non-violent relationships, ...

Study shows long-term drug abuse starts with alcohol

July 11, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Alcohol — not marijuana — is the gateway drug that leads adolescents down the path toward more serious substances, a new University of Florida study shows.

Pot smokers may face five times greater risk of alcohol abuse

March 8, 2016
(HealthDay)—People who smoke pot may be five times more likely to develop a problem with alcohol, such as addiction, a new study says.

Recommended for you

Poor sleep could lead to heavier drinking in young adults, study finds

December 8, 2017
A shortened night of sleep may increase young adults' risk of heavier drinking, according to a new Yale study that assessed reciprocal variations in sleep and drinking over time in young adults.

Researchers say nutritional labeling for sodium doesn't work

December 8, 2017
Potato chips, frozen pizza, a fast food hamburger-these foods are popular in the American diet and saturated with sodium. Though eating too much can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, 90 percent of Americans eat ...

Observation care may save more than thought

December 8, 2017
In the world of health care spending policy, it usually works that as Medicare goes so goes private insurance on matters of managing the cost and quality of care.

Screen time before bed linked with less sleep, higher BMIs in kids

December 7, 2017
It may be tempting to let your kids stay up late playing games on their smartphones, but using digital devices before bed may contribute to sleep and nutrition problems in children, according to Penn State College of Medicine ...

Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth, says research

December 7, 2017
For some young people, dealing with life stressors like exposure to violence and family disruption often means turning to negative, risky behaviors—yet little is known about what can intervene to stop this cycle.

Teen girls 'bombarded and confused' by sexting requests: study

December 7, 2017
Adolescent women feel intense pressure to send sexual images to men, but they lack the tools to cope with their concerns and the potential consequences, according to new Northwestern University research published Wednesday, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.