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College student consumption of marijuana rises

Photo by TheDangerGarden.com
Photo by TheDangerGarden.com

A pair of studies show that consumption of marijuana by college students is rising, and pinpoints when they’re most likely to try cannabis for the first time.

University of Michigan researchers have released a study which shows that consumption of all drugs has been rising among college students, however marijuana leads the way.

Nearly 40 percent of students reported using some sort of illicit drug during a 12 month period ending in 2014, up from 34 percent in 2006, however that figure is down slightly from 41 percent in 2013. Of those students, 36 percent say they consumed marijuana during that 12 month period.

“There’s no question that marijuana use has risen considerably,” said Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator for the Monitoring the Future study. “In December, we released results on secondary-school students, and we’re seeing a rise in daily marijuana use there as well.”

About 5.1 percent of college students in 2013 reported consuming marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis, up from 3.5 percent in 2007. About one in every 17 high-school students consumes marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis.

Touching on the health perception of marijuana, 35 percent of high-school graduates surveyed in 2014 said regular consumption is dangerous, down from 55 percent in 2006.

About 5.2 percent consume tobacco on a daily basis, while 4.3 percent say they consume alcohol on a daily basis. About 11 percent of students said they used Adderall at some point in the past 12 months without a prescription.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

Another study, put out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says that students are more likely to try stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin for the first time in November, December, or April. Students are most likely to try marijuana, inhalants, and alcohol for the first time during the summer.

First use of cigarettes peaks in June, September, and October. Underage college students who have never tried alcohol before are most likely to have it for the first time in June. First-time use of cigars, marijuana, and inhalants is highest in June and July, and the first non-medical use of prescription painkillers happens most often in December.

While many U.S. teenagers start drinking in high school, the report suggests many do not. About 1,200 underage students each day, on average, try alcohol for the first time while in college, according to the analysis.

Other reports using the same survey have found the average age of first alcohol use is about 17 in the U.S., with other drugs tending to be later. First marijuana use happens at about age 18 and first non-medical use of prescription stimulants or painkillers typically happens at about age 21 to 22, according to the 2013 survey.

A report shows that 20 million college students will be enrolled during the 2015 school year. Student enrollment for Texas in 2011 was about 1.2 million.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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1 Comment

  1. rickyb
    September 2, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Cannabis is the only one that is non-toxic out of that entire list of alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, stimulants and opiate painkillers.

    Cannabis is not a gateway to toxic substances, it is a relief FROM them.
    Although the misguided powers that be, are lame on this point, I can’t say I question their motives. Big alcohol, big pharma, big dollars. Haven’t we been on this merry-go-round long enough?

    Alcohol doesn’t want competition for the recreational dollar, after all, they’ve enjoyed a monopoly for over 80 years. Big pharma doesn’t want citizens growing their own remedies in their back yards for the same reason.

    Paints a clear picture, don’t it? So what with your tests and your surveys? People will read what they want from them. The important thing is that intelligent people already know the benefits of cannabis and they will break down all the walls of ignorance.