What’s Behind The Increase In College Student Marijuana Use?

A recent study found there is a sharp rise in marijuana use with American teens and young adults. In fact,  the concern is the rate of marijuana use in these circles is the highest it’s been in 35 years. The marijuana statistics include where it is smoked in joints, used in vape pens, or eaten in food as edibles.

According to the Associated Press, “about 43% of full-time college students” admitted to using a form of marijuana. This revealed a 38% increase from the previous month’s results. Additional survey numbers included the statistics mentioning, “25% of college students said they did so in the previous month.” The results revealed a 21% increase when compared to the previous month.

High Frequencies In Use Noted In Study

There were more findings in the study, revealing marijuana use among college students as a normal practice. Additional facts include 6% of college students confessing to using marijuana “20 or more times” in the past month. This number remained at 11% for same-aged adults outside of, or not enrolled in, college. These numbers have concerned many who work in academia and research. Michigan researchers are concerned, as a dependence on marijuana can impact academic performance of college students.

College Marijuana Use Tied To Future Marijuana Use

Another common problem is the introduction of drug use before graduation. Like other cases of substance abuse exposure, the earlier someone begins abusing a substance, the more likely he or she may be to develop substance use disorders, or irresponsibility in smoking marijuana. A study in the US National Library of Medicine revealed findings in a study evaluating college students drug use. In short, marijuana was the substance with the highest rate of continued use. Therefore, the results drew a connection between marijuana use and continuing a pattern when exposed during college.

Creating Connections Between College Students, Anxiety And Marijuana Use

Another recent study published by The Conversation noted “1 in 5 college students have anxiety or depression.” Theories suggest dangers in technology, as social media use can encourage social isolation. Coupled with the stress of exams and anxiety of fitting in, students can experience depression.

The need to go to a good college in order to appease family or have a top-notch school on your record can create anxiety in students’ minds. In addition, major exams like the MCAT and others can push students to take performance-enhancing medications or seek marijuana to achieve calm. Additionally, being away from home, academic pressure and high financial college costs can all encourage coping mechanisms for relief. Perhaps these have all aided in the rise of abuse of marijuana.

Legal Status Of Marijuana Not To Blame For Increase

A Forbes article discussed the recent surge in marijuana use and the legal status of the herb. The article completed by Addiction Journal mentioned medical and recreational marijuana use did not affect the rate at which the drug was used. With more states legalizing the substance, individuals may have once felt this would lead to an increase of marijuana use, as acceptance may breed relaxed attitudes. However, this has not affected the amount of marijuana consumed by college students or non-college students.

Final Findings

The Associated Press article summarized comparing college students of the 1980s with those of today. There was no particular analysis on the attitudes or practices on college student marijuana use compared to today. In the past decade, college student marijuana use has been slowly increasing, even showing spikes in vaping. An 11% amount of college students admitted to vaping this month, which is concerning with stories of hospitalized individuals affected by vaping. There are hopes college students reduce marijuana intake and remember to find a balanced healthy way of coping with college stress.

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Krystina Murray

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  • Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.

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