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Cannabis Consumption among College Students Highest in 35 Years

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College students are consuming cannabis at the highest rates in 35 years, according to a recent University of Michigan survey. The survey, called “Monitoring the Future Panel National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2018,” contains nationwide data that’s been recorded through surveys for decades. The results were published in the school’s news website on Sept. 5.

Forty-three percent of full-time college students ages 19-22 reported consuming cannabis at least once over the past 12 months, representing a climb from 38 percent the year before. Twenty-five percent reported consuming cannabis at least once in the past 30 days, demonstrating a steady increase over the past five years. The data was gathered from responses from 1,400 students ages 19-22, with 900 full-time students and 500 part-time students.

Researchers pointed out that they’re mostly concerned with chronic use because of the mental or physical effects it could create. “It’s the frequent use we’re most worried about” because it’s been blamed for poor academic performance and health problems, John Schulenberg, one of the researchers, told Detroit News.

Amid recent reports of serious vaping hazards, many people want to know the level of vaping prevalence among college students. The survey found about 11 percent of college students said they vaped cannabis in the past 30 days, representing more than double the numbers recorded in the 2017 survey. Vaping, however, was considerably less popular than traditional smoking.

Interestingly, prevalence was nearly the same for students who were currently enrolled and same-age students who had already graduated. Both current and graduated students reported consuming cannabis over the past 12 months at 43 percent. Heavier use over the past 30 days was reported at 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively. This could lend to the idea that whatever their motivations to consume cannabis may be, it was not significantly affected by their current enrollment.

Most people don’t like the idea of young students consuming cannabis—when the brain does not reach maturity until around the age of 25. With little hard information about cannabis’ long-term effects on developing brains, young students are often encouraged to stay away from heavy cannabis consumption.