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Influence of Combined Alcohol and Marijuana Use on Academic Performance

A study analyzed data from the longitudinal 2-year Brain and Alcohol Research in College Students (BARCS) study to examine the effects of combined alcohol and marijuana use on academic performance. Researchers grouped the 1,142 college freshman who completed monthly marijuana use and alcohol consumption surveys into the following three clusters based on degree of substance use: 1) no or low use of both substances, 2) medium to high alcohol use and no or low marijuana use, and 3) medium to high use of both substances. While the second group only demonstrated lower GPAs compared to the first group, the third group exhibited significantly lower GPAs long term. Findings also indicated that students who curtailed their substance use over time had higher GPAs compared to those who were stable in their substance use.

The study, “Longitudinal Influence of Alcohol and Marijuana Use on Academic Performance in College Students,” is published in PLoS ONE. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported this research effort.

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