Cannabis smokers warned they risk poorer exam grades

The Observer is reporting a new Dutch study that suggests exams results – especially for maths – suffer if you smoke dope…

…After studying data on more than 54,000 course grades achieved by students from around the world who were enrolled at Maastricht University before and after the restrictions were introduced, the economists came to a striking conclusion. In a paper recently presented at the Royal Economic Society conference in Manchester they revealed that those who could no longer legally buy cannabis did better in their studies. The restrictions, the economists conclude, constrained consumption for some users, whose cognitive functioning improved as a result.

“The effects we find are large, consistent and statistically very significant,” Marie told the Observer. “For example, we estimate that students who were no longer able to buy cannabis legally were 5% more likely to pass courses. The grade improvement this represents is about the same as having a qualified teacher and, more relevantly, similar to decreases in grades observed from reaching legal drinking age in the US.”

For low performers, there was a larger effect on grades. They had a 7.6% better chance of passing their courses.

Interestingly, Marie and Zölitz found the effects were even more pronounced when it came to particular disciplines. “The policy effect is five times larger for courses requiring numerical/mathematical skills,” the pair write…

More at: Cannabis smokers warned they risk poorer exam grades


Interesting findings and a potential hand grenade lobbed right into the debate on the legalisation of cannabis.

What do you make of the findings and the potential implications? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. Busy Mum

    The striking thing is that they call this a ‘striking conclusion’. Hardly surprising that you will do better academically if you are in full control of your mental and physcial faculties. If society needs to be told this, society must have become Orwell’s ‘controlled insanity’.

  2. connorgsg

    SchoolsImprove Poor exam grades specifically because of their choice to smoke? That doesn’t seem very ethical.

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