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Marijuana use by US college students climbs to 35-year high

The University of Michigan's study of college students shows twice as many now VAPE it despite warnings the vitamin E derivative in THC e-liquids may cause new lung disease.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   18-09-2019

College students vaping

Here’s the reality: College is one of the most common places marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, and study drugs, which are things like Adderall or Vyvanse are found. As a result, US college students are using more marijuana than undergrads have in 35 years, according to a report released this week.

The study finds that college-age adults are the biggest users of marijuana than any other age group. Use among high school students has been flat for a few years in the United States.

The rate of undergrads vaping cannabis doubled between 2017 and 2018, found the University of Michigan’s annual national monitoring study. This is a worrying trend amid recent scientist' warnings that a vitamin E derivative in THC e-liquids may be to blame for some of the 450 suspected e-cig lung illnesses.

“This doubling in vaping marijuana among college students is one of the greatest one-year proportional increases we have seen among the multitude of substances we measure since the study began over 40 years ago,” said John Schulenberg, principal investigator of the University of Michigan study.

Daily or near daily use of marijuana — defined as having used on 20 or more occasions in the prior 30 days — was at about 6% college students. About 43% of full-time college students said they used some form of pot occasionally, up from 38%, the University of Michigan survey found.

The latest figures are the highest levels seen in the annual survey since 1983.

"It's the frequent use we're most worried about" because it's linked to poor academic performance and can be detrimental to mental health, said Schulenberg.

“The brain is still growing in the early 20s, and as the Surgeon General just reported, the scientific evidence indicates that heavy marijuana use can be detrimental to cognitive functioning and mental health,” he added.

There likely are multiple reasons for the continuing increase in marijuana use among college students, according to the researchers. One possible reason is the ongoing decline in perceptions of risk of harm from regular marijuana use.

For many students, especially international ones, college also opens up the world of opportunity to try new things without parents hovering. For others, the reasons are more prosaic: peer pressure to be non-conforming and cool.

“A lot of students at my dorm party hard when it comes to drinking and experimenting with drugs,” said an Indian student, who is sophomore at Wesleyan University, an elite, private liberal arts college in Connecticut.

“Many South Asian kids vape just to fit in with the privileged stoners. Thanks to stereotypes of the ‘model minority’ we are vilified for being too smart, too focused on academics, one-dimensional and lacking personal skills. To break out many do drugs as the epitome of cool,” added the student, who didn’t want to be identified.

“Stoners will tell you De Quincey, Ginsberg, Basquiat, Hedberg were all it.”

The survey only has comparable data on college kids going back to 1980. So it doesn't say how common marijuana use was in the 1960's and 1970's — a time when marijuana use on college campuses was considered widespread.



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