Can you study while high?

Studying can be an intense task that requires full concentration and focus to achieve success. However, some students find it hard to maintain their focus for long periods, leading them to explore alternative ways to stay alert and remain engaged. One of the approaches that students often consider is smoking cannabis, also known as marijuana. The question, therefore, is can students indeed study while high?

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, weed, or pot, is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant. It is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, with an estimated 147 million users. Cannabis can be smoked, vaporized, or ingested in edibles, such as cookies, candy, or chocolate. The chemical responsible for its psychoactive effects is known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

How Does Cannabis Affect the Brain?

Ingesting cannabis releases THC into the bloodstream. THC then enters the brain and binds with cannabinoid receptors, which are mainly concentrated in parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and attention, such as the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. The result is an alteration in the user’s perception and a decrease in cognitive abilities.

Can Studying While High Be Productive?

The answer is not straightforward. While some students report that cannabis helps them focus and enhances their creativity, scientific evidence shows otherwise. Cannabis use impairs cognitive functions such as attention, memory, and processing speed, making it harder to learn new information and retain it. Additionally, there is a high risk of distractions, as users tend to get sidetracked easily.

Reasons Cannabis Is Not Suitable for Studying

  • Impacts on attention and focus: Cannabis use reduces attention and impairs focus, making it hard to retain information.
  • Memory problems: Cannabis use can lead to memory problems and make it hard to recall information.
  • Mood swings: Cannabis can affect mood and may lead to feelings of lethargy and apathy, leading to low motivation and poor academic performance.
  • Reduced productivity: Cannabis can impact motivation leading to reduced productivity and efficiency.
  • Addiction: Cannabis can be addictive, leading to dependency and long-term negative effects on mental health and physical wellbeing.

Alternatives to Cannabis for Studying

Other alternatives to increase focus and attention while studying can be adopted without resorting to cannabis use. Some of these methods include:

  • Regular exercise that helps combat stress, anxiety, and increases focus and energy levels.
  • Proper sleep and nutrition that enhance cognitive abilities.
  • Mindfulness techniques and meditation that help develop focus and awareness.
  • Caffeine or healthy energy drinks to help sustain energy and alertness.
  • Study groups or tutoring that enhance collaborative learning and retain information better.

The Legal Status of Cannabis

Cannabis is illegal in many countries. While some jurisdictions have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, it remains prohibited under federal law in the United States. As a result, students risking substance use at school may face serious legal consequences, including fines or imprisonment.


While cannabis may seem like an appealing solution for studying, it is not a viable solution. Cannabis consumption can lead to a decrease in focus, cognitive impairment, and can significantly impact academic performance. Therefore, students should adopt other methods to stay focused, such as regular exercise, proper sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness techniques.


  • Can cannabis help me concentrate when studying?
    No, cannabis use can impair cognitive abilities, attention and focus leading to reduced learning and retention of information.
  • Is cannabis addictive?
    Yes, cannabis can lead to addiction and long-term negative effects on mental and physical wellbeing.
  • What are other alternatives to cannabis for studying?
    Other alternatives to increase focus and attention include regular exercise, proper sleep and nutrition, mindfulness techniques, and caffeine or healthy energy drinks to help sustain energy.
  • Is cannabis legal?
    While some jurisdictions have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, it remains prohibited under federal law in the United States and illegal in many countries.


Smith, L. (2021). The effects of marijuana use on learning and memory. Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Cannabis (Marijuana) DrugFacts. Retrieved from

WebMD. (2021). How Marijuana Affects Your Body and Mind. Retrieved from