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Marijuana use reaches all time high on college campuses

Marijuana use reaches all time high on college campuses


According to a new study, alcohol use and abuse on college campuses are down, while marijuana use is at an all time high. The Monitoring the Future study, funded by the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, has been used to gauge alcohol and drug use among college students since 1980. Their 2020 study, available online, surveyed 1,550 college-aged students between March 20, 2020, and Nov. 30, 2020 and found some very interesting trends. 

According to the 2020 MTF study, 44% of college students reported marijuana use during the year, an increase from 38% in 2015.  The daily or near-daily use also increased from 5% half a decade ago to 8%. Reported use of psychedelic drugs with hallucinogen consumption among college students also rose from 5% the previous year to 9%. Non-college students reported a 2% increase in use. 

On the flipside, alcohol use among college students dropped 6% from the previous year. The number of students reporting being drunk in the past month dropped from 35% last year to 28%. The number of students who reported “binge-drinking,” or having five or more drinks in one outing at least once in the past two weeks, fell eight percentage points. 

While the studies do not address what may be causing the new trends in marijuana use, scientists suggest that the pandemic is taking a heavy toll on our daily lives and mental health, which, in turn, is increasing marijuana and hallucinogen use. The drop in alcohol use could very well be explained by the lack of social events that occurred during the time of the study, because alcohol is more often associated with parties and gatherings than is marijuana. 

Another fascinating find in the MTF study was that only 24% of college students reported believing marijuana poses a risk of harm. While the risks of marijuana are finally being studied as regulations surrounding the substance start to ease, the fear campaigns utilized to enact marijuana’s prohibition appear to not be having many lingering effects. Of course, there are still people who will argue that cannabis is a danger to society, but they will be doing so with little to no information to back their claims. 

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