Does school quality impact cannabis use rates among youth?

Published Jan 6, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
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Adolescents are an impressionable generation. They may adapt to changes in their surroundings faster than adults, but most of them are not aware of the dangers of certain choices. The use of marijuana was prevalent among adolescents even before marijuana legalization. Even though more young people may be more encouraged to use the drug, there are negative effects of marijuana use on adolescents.

Schools are faced with a challenge of preventing or reducing the use of marijuana by students. Do you believe that the quality of the school has an impact on the use of cannabis among students? Schools, like parents, have a role to play in preventing the use of marijuana by youths. Schools, in most, if not all instances, are the secondary source of socialization. Students learn a whole lot at school and sometimes they learn more than what is stipulated in the curriculum. Many students face peer pressure and are influenced by their peers to smoke marijuana.

Some schools have more resources than others. The available resources of a school are one way to determine the quality of a school. The resources a school has can help to put measures in place to prevent or reduce the use of cannabis among students. Therefore, the quality of a school may impact the use of marijuana among students. Recently, this has been supported by a study conducted on adolescents.

Quality of School impact cannabis rates

Dudovitz and some of his colleagues conducted a study on adolescents in grade eight to grade eleven to determine if the quality of their school had any impact on their cannabis use. This study was conducted on minority students (Latinos). The findings of the study show that students who attend high performing schools were reported to use less marijuana than students who attend other poor-performing schools.

However, this study may not be generalized because it involved only a portion of schools in the urban area. Also, there were other variables interrelated in the study such as the location and race of the participants. In effect, this study shows that schools that have more resources and are better in performance may reduce the use of cannabis.

Negative effects of marijuana

Schools can implement programs to educate students on the negative effects of marijuana such as damage to brain cells and lack of functionality. Studies have shown a correlation of damage to brain cells and marijuana use. Although these studies are not conclusive and require more research, there is strong evidence from a study conducted in 2014 that suggests that brain damage is possible in adolescents.


Does weed kill brain cells? Like any other drugs, abuse of marijuana can lead to damage to the brain in teenagers. This may directly or indirectly affect the performance of students academically. Poor performance has always been a negative effect on the consumption of drugs. A school's main mandate is to ensure that every child excels academically. Therefore, hinderances to the mandate of a school should be tackled.

As a result, schools should have security measures in place to check and confiscate marijuana and other drugs. Only schools that are more resourceful (high-quality) will be able to put such measures in place. These measures are only effective to some extent.


Schools are not the only entity that can help to reduce cannabis use among adolescents. Parents, being the primary agent of socialization, should collaborate with schools to ensure that their children stay away from marijuana consumption. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children by informing them about the negative impact marijuana use can have on their body.

Therefore, whether some schools are better than others should not be the focus. Schools, parents, and the wider community should take a collective effort to reduce cannabis use among adolescents.

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