Does Marijuana Affect School, Sports, or Other Activities?

Weed Effects Learning, Sports, and Judgment

High school boys on sports team running outdoors

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There are three main areas in which smoking marijuana can affect the daily lives of children and teens. They include learning, participating in sports, and making judgments.

Learning

Kids who are disengaged from school may think it is a good idea to smoke a bowl and do their homework, but research shows that the opposite is true. Because marijuana has negative effects on attention or memory, smoking weed makes it difficult to learn new things or do complex tasks that require focus and concentration, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Complex Tasks

Some young people believe that they do complex tasks, like driving a car, better when they are stoned because they think their ability to focus is increased.

While sensory perception can feel temporarily heightened after using marijuana, perception is not the same thing as attention. Research shows marijuana users have trouble both maintaining concentration and multi-tasking throughout driving and similar tasks.

Sports

Smoking weed can harm a teen's athletic performance because it affects their timing, movement, and coordination. If an athlete's abilities are impaired even slightly, it can make a big difference in the outcome during the heat of a sports competition.

Judgment

NIDA-funded studies show that, like most other abused substances, smoking marijuana can alter a person's ability to make sound judgments. If a teen's judgment is impaired, they are more likely to become involved in risky behaviors like having unsafe sex or getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence.

Smoking weed can cause problems in these and other areas of a child or teen's life because it can cause a loss of coordination, impaired thinking and problem-solving, distorted perceptions, and problems with memory and learning, the NIDA reports.

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  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Marijuana Research Report. Updated July 2020.

  2. Hartman RL, Huestis MA. Cannabis effects on driving skills. Clin Chem. 2013;59(3):478-492. doi:10.1373/clinchem.2012.194381