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The purpose of this assignment is to provide students with an opportunity to search journal data bases on a particular topic relevant to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselling field.

Students will critically evaluate the research findings on their selected topic across three academic research studies in terms of the quality of the research and gaps in knowledge, and synthesise the findings.

Research Articles

Adolescence has been identified as the phase that is connected with a major transition to adulthood. According to Clayton et al. (2013) this phase is often associated with a wide range of activities and development of a fervour to experiment with new things and in the pursuit of doing so individuals invariably engage themselves in substance/drug abuse. It is obvious that at this stage, individuals resort to the feeling of momentary euphoria and overlook the critical consideration of the advantages or disadvantages associated with the consumption of the alcohol or drug. It should be noted here that several scientific studies have researched on the effect of substance/ drug abuse on the young generation and accordingly studied its effect (Bachman et al., 2013); (Piontek et al., 2013).

In this regard it should be critically mentioned that this paper intends to investigate and analyse the impact of Cannabis on the students of the present young generation. Further, it should be noted that consumption of Cannabis has been associated with a number of adverse effects in the students of younger generation (Mason, Zaharkis & Benotsch, 2014). As mentioned by Chadwick et al. (2013), Cannabis is extremely popular among young students who associate it with special names such as weed, reefer, grass or pot. It should further be noted here that the use of marijuana is illegal in Australia and the nation has strict measures to penalise any individual found practicing cannabis use. According to the statistical data furnished by the Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre it has been suggested that more than 35.4 percent of the Australians aged 14 years and above engage themselves in Cannabis use (Hall, 2015).

A number of factors have been associated with the initial introduction of Cannabis to individuals. A few of the identified characteristics involve, exposure to weed by friends and peer and voluntary or involuntary exposure to weed by relatives and immediate family members (Gruber et al., 2014). According to a research study conducted by Hall et al. (2015), it was revealed that out of 2123 students, almost 340 of the students had engaged themselves in marijuana substance use once in their academic life. It should be noted here that the participants of the survey comprised of students who belonged to 8th, 10th and 12th grade (Hall, 2015). The findings of the survey response clearly indicated the popularity of cannabis use among the school students of Australia (Hall, 2015). Despite Cannabis being identified as a high-risk intoxicating drug it should be noted here that the positive response of the students clearly indicated that it was immensely popular among its users. One surprising aspect of the findings included a high number of school students who indulged in Cannabis use. This paper intends to present a vivid discussion on the key findings and summarise the themes highlighted by the three papers that have been chosen by me to study the impact of cannabis use on the quality of life of the school students.

The aim of this study was to investigate and analyse the underlying reasons why young teenagers resorted to cannabis use. To develop a clear understanding about the same three articles were chosen that were thoroughly studied and reviewed. The search terms included were Cannabis use, Marijuana, impact on students, mental health, physical health and Australia. After conducting the successful review, the article findings were summarized in detail to obtain a clear understanding of the effect of drug abuse on children. The subsequent paragraphs would deal with the summarising and analysis of the findings as understood from the studied papers.

The first paper that was reviewed evaluated the effectof Cannabis use on enhancing academic performance in the Australian University Students. According to Mazanov et al. (2013), the study typically revealed that Cannabis use among the Australian students is popular as it enhances the quality of academic performance. The study further highlighted that students prefer to engage in Cannabis use as it helps them stay up late and study hard for their exams (Mazanov et al., 2013). In addition to this, a number of studies also specifies that Cannabis use helped in improving memory retention and ability to concentrate on a particular subject for a longer period of time (Karlia et al., 2014); (Buckner, 2013). The researchers considered a sample size of 1729 Australian students who belonged to four major Australian Universities (Mazanov et al., 2013). Further, the researchers proceeded with conducting an online survey where the students were asked about their history of using caffeine, prescription stimulants, illicit drugs and relaxants to enhance their study performance. The results indicated that the use of Cannabis and other illicit drugs for enhancing academic performance was much higher than the US students or the German students.

From the findings it can be clearly inferred that students resort to Cannabis use for improving their ability to concentrate and improve their performance output in term of academic excellence. On critically evaluating the study it can be said that the sample size considered by the researchers was strong and that the results obtained could be generalized on the basis of the strong sampling. Also, the qualitative study design involving the direct responses of the students to evaluate the reason why Cannabis use was popular among the students can also be considered a justified one. However, on analysing the findings of the research study, it can be said that there is a need to develop a policy that advocates the feasibility of Cannabis use by university students to enhance their academic performance.

The second research study that was selected dealt with the evaluation of the factor that encouraged students to resort to the use of Marijuana. The authors of the research study Suerken et al. (2016) conducted a research on the students perception and belief towards Cannabis use. The research involved students from 11 colleges across the elite colleges of North Carolina and Virginia (Suerken et al., 2016). The researchers proceeded with conducting a survey at 6 time points and accordingly obtained five cannabis trajectory groups. The findings clearly revealed that the frequent users of Cannabis were either the students whose graduation was delayed or students who dropped out. Further, the findings also revealed that the marijuana user groups reported lower GPAs on an average in comparison to the non-users. The sample size considered for the research study included, 3146 students across 11 colleges and the study was evaluated across six time points spanning over the entire career (Suerken et al., 2016).

It should be noted here that group based trajectory models were utilized in order to study the longitudinal marijuana use trends among the students of the college. In order to analyse the findings of the research, the trajectory groups and the successive academic outcomes were studied using the random-effects linear and logistic regressions. The researchers identified five marijuana trajectory groups which included, 69.0% as non-users, 16.6% as infrequent or occasional users, 4.7% as decreasing users, 5.8% as increasing users and 3.9% as frequent users (Suerken et al., 2016). It was also found that the marijuana users revealed lower academic performance and poor GPAs. As mentioned by Choo et al. (2014), it can be inferred that the decreasing users and the frequent users invariably dropped out of college or delayed their graduation. On critically analysing the paper, it can be said that paper considered a strong sample size that included 3146 participants across 11 colleges. Also, it should be acknowledged here that there has been studies that investigated the poor impact of marijuana on the academic performance of the students but this study focused on studying the changes across different periods of time throughout the entire career. The cohort study design was also feasible with the considered sample size and based on the strong sample size the findings could easily be validated and generalized.

The regular use of Cannabis has been linked to poor mental health (Lev-Ran et al., 2014). In alignment with this context, the third research paper focused on the relationship between adolescent Cannabis use and the associated impact on the mental health of the budding teenagers. The study design adopted by the authors for this study was a prospective cohort study that included the young Australian population. The research study was conducted in Victoria, Australia and included a population cohort of 1943 secondary school students (Degenhardt et al., 2013). The inclusion criteria included the age of the participants to be from the middle teen age to the late 20s. The research study was based upon the nine-wave study design. Six waves data collected was done on the basis of the adolescent stage that comprised of the mean age between 14.9 years up to 17.4 years (Degenhardt et al., 2013). Also three waves of data collection considered the phase of young adulthood that comprised of the mean age 20.7 years, 24.1 years and 29.1 years (Degenhardt et al., 2013).

The researchers evaluated the psychological morbidity across the adolescent stage with the help of the revised clinical interview schedule and the composite international diagnostic interview at the age of 29 years. The frequency of Cannabis use was evaluated in the past 6 months at the adolescent phase. On the other hand, the frequency of cannabis use was also evaluated in the last year and DSM-IV Cannabis dependence was also evaluated at 29 years (Degenhardt et al., 2013). Further cross sectional and prospective outcome of cannabis use was estimated as the odd ratio and multivariate logistic regression model was used in order to predict the prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety at the age of 29 years (Degenhardt et al., 2013). The findings interestingly revealed that there was absolutely no relation of Cannabis use at the adolescent phase and the prevalence of depressive symptoms at the age of 29 years.

However, every day Cannabis use was associated with the prevalence of anxiety at the age of 29 years. It can hence be stated that the paper clearly focused on the vital aspect that regular cannabis use in adolescent stage was not linked to the appearance of depressive disorder in adulthood however it was found to be linked with symptoms of anxiety. It can also be said that regular cannabis use among the adolescents exposes them to high risks associated with disturbed mental health (Volkow et al., 2014); (Volkow et al., 2016).

Therefore to summarize the findings of the research articles evaluated it can be said that 2 out of the three papers focused on the investigation of the students inclination towards Marijuana. The papers focused on the sample size that comprised of College and University students of North Carolina, Virginia and Australia. The findings clearly revealed that students associated Cannabis use with better academic performance and improvement in terms of concentration and memory retention power. On the other hand the third research paper focused on the identification and the evaluation of an existing relationship between persistent Cannabis use in adolescent and the onset of mental health disorder at the youth stage of life. The findings revealed that although there was no direct relationship between regular Cannabis use at adolescence and the prevalence of depression at the end of 29 years of age, there were episodes of anxiety disorders. The study was conducted in an in-depth manner that traversed across two integral phases of life that are dominated by Cannabis use and presented an overview about the negative implication on the mental health of the young individuals.

Conclusion:

Hence, to conclude it can be said that substance abuse such as alcohol or drug abuse is most common among the young individuals who belong to the category of academic learners. It should be critically noted in this context that the identified reasons for the same widely include, escape from reality, momentary euphoria, will to improve performance and willingness to try out something new. In this regard it should be mentioned that in most of the cases the students were completely aware of the negative implication of the drug but still engaged themselves in its use. However, there also have been several cases when the young teenagers have been impulsive or engaged in Cannabis use being unaware of the negative implication on physical and mental health. The large number of participants of the research papers evaluated clearly indicates that a major proportion of the student population had at least indulged in Cannabis use at one point in their academic life. The overwhelming percentage of student dropouts and degradation in the quality of physical as well as mental health on account of Cannabis use invites attention to frame stringent health policies to create awareness among the young generation.

References:

Bachman, J. G., Wadsworth, K. N., O'Malley, P. M., Johnston, L. D., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2013). Smoking, drinking, and drug use in young adulthood: The impacts of new freedoms and new responsibilities. Psychology Press.

Buckner, J. D. (2013). College cannabis use: The unique roles of social norms, motives, and expectancies. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 74(5), 720-726.

Chadwick, B., Miller, M. L., & Hurd, Y. L. (2013). Cannabis use during adolescent development: susceptibility to psychiatric illness. Frontiers in psychiatry, 4, 129.

Choo, E. K., Benz, M., Zaller, N., Warren, O., Rising, K. L., & McConnell, K. J. (2014). The impact of state medical marijuana legislation on adolescent marijuana use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(2), 160-166.

Clayton, R. B., Osborne, R. E., Miller, B. K., & Oberle, C. D. (2013). Loneliness, anxiousness, and substance use as predictors of Facebook use. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 687-693.

Degenhardt, L., Coffey, C., Romaniuk, H., Swift, W., Carlin, J. B., Hall, W. D., & Patton, G. C. (2013). The persistence of the association between adolescent cannabis use and common mental disorders into young adulthood. Addiction, 108(1), 124-133.

Gruber, S. A., Dahlgren, M. K., Sagar, K. A., Gönenç, A., & Lukas, S. E. (2014). Worth the wait: effects of age of onset of marijuana use on white matter and impulsivity. Psychopharmacology, 231(8), 1455-1465.

Hall, W. (2015). What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?. Addiction, 110(1), 19-35.

Karila, L., Roux, P., Rolland, B., Benyamina, A., Reynaud, M., Aubin, H. J., & Lançon, C. (2014). Acute and long-term effects of cannabis use: a review. Current pharmaceutical design, 20(25), 4112-4118.

Lev-Ran, S., Roerecke, M., Le Foll, B., George, T. P., McKenzie, K., & Rehm, J. (2014). The association between cannabis use and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological medicine, 44(4), 797-810.

Mason, M. J., Zaharakis, N., & Benotsch, E. G. (2014). Social networks, substance use, and mental health in college students. Journal of American college health, 62(7), 470-477.

Mazanov, J., Dunn, M., Connor, J., & Fielding, M. L. (2013). Substance use to enhance academic performance among Australian university students. Performance Enhancement & Health, 2(3), 110-118.

Piontek, D., Kraus, L., Bjarnason, T., Demetrovics, Z., & Ramstedt, M. (2013). Individual and country-level effects of cannabis-related perceptions on cannabis use. A multilevel study among adolescents in 32 European countries. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(4), 473-479.

Suerken, C. K., Reboussin, B. A., Egan, K. L., Sutfin, E. L., Wagoner, K. G., Spangler, J., & Wolfson, M. (2016). Marijuana use trajectories and academic outcomes among college students. Drug and alcohol dependence, 162, 137-145.

Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. (2014). Adverse health effects of marijuana use. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(23), 2219-2227.

Volkow, N. D., Swanson, J. M., Evins, A. E., DeLisi, L. E., Meier, M. H., Gonzalez, R., ... & Baler, R. (2016). Effects of cannabis use on human behavior, including cognition, motivation, and psychosis: a review. JAMA psychiatry, 73(3), 292-297.

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My Assignment Help. 'The Essay Explores The Impact Of Cannabis On The Quality Of Life Of Australian School Students.' (My Assignment Help, 2020) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/nurs-217-health-assessment/effect-of-substance-drug-abuse-on-the-young-generation.html> accessed 21 May 2024.

My Assignment Help. The Essay Explores The Impact Of Cannabis On The Quality Of Life Of Australian School Students. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2020 [cited 21 May 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/nurs-217-health-assessment/effect-of-substance-drug-abuse-on-the-young-generation.html.

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