Pubdate: Fri, 12 May 2017
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The London Free Press
Author: Dale Carruthers
Page: A5


High school kids who use marijuana prone to slack off and perform
poorly, study finds

It turns out that high school stoner Jeff Spicoli in the 1982 movie
may be based on more fact than fiction.

New research shows high school students who use marijuana are less
likely to get good grades and plan to attend university than those who
pass on pot.

The study by University of Waterloo researchers found that students
who started using cannabis at least once a month became four times
more likely to play hooky.

Those same students were also as much as four times less likely to
finish their homework and half as likely to get good grades.

Asked about the highest level of schooling they'd like to achieve,
daily pot users were 50 per cent less likely than their drug-free
counterparts to report ambitions of attending university.

"The findings support the importance of preventing and delaying the
initiation of marijuana use among adolescents," co-author Scott
Leatherdale, a professor in Waterloo's school of public health and
health systems, said in a release.

The study, published in the Journal of School Health, sampled more
than 26,000 students in grades 9 to 12.

The findings come on the heels of the federal government's tabling of
legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use.

Though the legislation will prohibit anyone under age 18 from buying
weed - the Canadian Medical Association had recommended setting the
age at 21 - provinces and territories will be allowed to set the age

Past research has shown adults who used cannabis regularly as teens
have reduced neural connectivity in regions of the brain responsible
for memory, learning and inhibitions. The human brain actively
develops until people reach their early 20s.

"With marijuana legalization on the horizon, it's critical we
understand these risks in order to promote successful transitions into
adulthood for our youth," lead author Karen Patte, also of the school
of public health and health systems, said in the release.
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