Study: Kids with High Academic Scores More Likely to Use Cannabis, Less Likely to Smoke Cigarettes

New research has found that adolescents with high academic scores are considerably more likely to consume cannabis than those with low scores.

The study was published by the British Medical Journal. According to its abstract, the study’s aim “was to determine the association between childhood academic ability and the onset and persistence of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use across adolescence in a representative sample of English schools pupils.” Researchers wanted to conduct the study because “Previous research has produced conflicting findings.”

For the study, data from “7 years of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE)” was used; in total there were 6,059 participants “with information on academic ability around age 11 and health behaviours from age 13/14 to 16/17 (early adolescence) and from age 18/19 to 19/20 (late adolescence).” Researchers used “Self-completion questionnaires during home visits, face-to-face interviews and web-based questionnaires” to determine the results.

In “multinomial logistic regression models adjusting for a range of covariates”, the high (vs low) academic ability “reduced the risk of persistent cigarette smoking” in early adolescence. On the contrary; high academic ability was “positively associated with occasional and persistent cannabis use in late adolescence.” High academic scores were also found to be associated with ncreased alcohol consumption.

Researchers conclude; “In a sample of over 6000 young people in England, high childhood academic at age 11 is associated with a reduced risk of cigarette smoking but an increased risk of drinking alcohol regularly and cannabis use. These associations persist into early adulthood, providing evidence against the hypothesis that high academic ability is associated with temporary ‘experimentation’ with substance use.

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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