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Cannabis Use Not Independently Linked To Poorer Educational Outcomes


One of the most serious areas of cannabis public policy pertains to youth consumption. Aside from limited instances of medical use, no responsible cannabis consumer ever advocates for youngsters to be able to consume cannabis.

Unfortunately, cannabis opponents have spread so much misinformation over the years, and in some cases outright lies, that it can seem impossible at times to have a constructive conversation about youth cannabis use and its potential impact.

As with all cannabis public policies, science and facts should lead the way. A recent study in Finland examined cannabis use in adolescents and its potential impact on educational outcomes. It helps provide important context for ongoing discussions. Below is more information about it via NORML:

Helsinki, Finland: The use of alcohol, but not cannabis, in adolescence is independently associated with poorer educational attainment, according to longitudinal data published in the journal BMC Public Health.

Finnish investigators assessed the relationship between the use of cannabis and alcohol by adolescents and lifetime educational attainment in a cohort of more than 6,500 subjects.

They reported that the frequent use of alcohol during adolescence was significantly associated with poorer lifetime educational attainment after controlling for confounders. By contrast, early-onset cannabis use was not a statistically significant risk factor after researchers controlled for other variables.

The study’s authors concluded: “In this large birth cohort study with a 17-year follow-up, younger age at first intoxication, higher frequency of alcohol intoxication, and high self-reported alcohol tolerance at age 15/16 years were associated with poorer educational outcomes by the age of 33 years. These adverse associations were evident regardless of a range of potential confounders, such as behavioral/emotional problems at age 7/8 years and parental education level. The association between adolescent lifetime cannabis use and educational attainment in adulthood was no longer statistically significant after adjusting for potential confounders including alcohol use. Our finding that inherent alcohol tolerance in adolescence was associated with subsequent educational attainment has not been previously reported.”

Full text of the study, “Adolescent alcohol and cannabis use in early adulthood educational attainment in the 1986 Finland birth cohort study,” appears in BMC Public Health.