Psychotic events are uncommon but regular occurrences in the traditional college-age population, and as one would expect, have devastating and long-term impacts on both the individual and the family system.
Anxiety and depressive disorder, while perhaps less dramatic in presentation, often results in a blunted ability to engage effectively in academic life and to function at one’s potential.
But it’s work that we can’t do if we passively accept the broader societal messaging about the harmlessness of cannabis.
Because of our stake in the healthy development of young minds, we are called to be better informed and more nuanced in our approach to mitigating its impact on our students and our mission.
For the most part, we have decided that it’s safe, as reflected in the decline of American high school seniors who perceive great risk in regular marijuana use from 58 percent in 2005 to 31.9 percent in 2015.
So it’s not surprising that legalization of cannabis has gained traction at the state level.
The fact is that regular cannabis use places students at substantially higher risk for impaired mental health, dependence and blunted academic engagement and achievement -- outcomes that are at direct odds with the mission of higher education.
Indeed, such use has the potential to adversely impact the trajectory of their personal happiness and productivity for years after college.
Beyond all this, regular cannabis use impairs cognitive function.
Among the impacts noted in the literature is a long-term erosion of executive function, an array of cognitive skills that help us discern important from superfluous information, prioritize tasks, and organize and carry out our day.