Consumption of alcohol and marijuana associated with lower GPA in college

March 8, 2017, Public Library of Science
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

Mediterranean diet boosts beneficial bacteria

April 25, 2018
Here's another reason to eat a Mediterranean-type diet: It's good for your gut.

Consuming protein supplements with meals may work better for weight control

April 25, 2018
A new systematic review of available evidence appearing in Nutrition Reviews indicates that consuming protein supplements with meals may be more effective at promoting weight control than consuming supplements between meals ...

Potential for sun damage should be carefully balanced with need for vitamin D in children, say scientists

April 24, 2018
Scientists at King's College London are encouraging parents and carers to ensure even more rigorous protection of children against the harmful effects of the sun. The comments follow a study which has suggested that children ...

Millennials aren't getting the message about sun safety and the dangers of tanning

April 24, 2018
Many millennials lack knowledge about the importance of sunscreen and continue to tan outdoors in part because of low self-esteem and high rates of narcissism that fuel addictive tanning behavior, a new study from Oregon ...

Drinking affects mouth bacteria linked to diseases

April 24, 2018
When compared with nondrinkers, men and women who had one or more alcoholic drinks per day had an overabundance of oral bacteria linked to gum disease, some cancers, and heart disease. By contrast, drinkers had fewer bacteria ...

People expect their memory to fade as early as their 50s

April 24, 2018
People across the UK expect their memory to worsen in their 50s, according to new research from Heriot-Watt University.

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.