Both college students and non-college young adults report using marijuana at high levels, according to the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey.
This finding follows similar reports of increased marijuana use among all US adults and among pregnant women.
The survey, conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, assessed drug use among college students aged 19 to 22 years compared with their peers not attending college.
Results showed that 13.2% of non-college young adults used marijuana daily or nearly daily, defined as use on 20 or more occasions within 30 days, corresponding to its highest level yet. Young adults not attending college used marijuana daily or nearly daily at a rate three times higher than that of college students. Additionally, more non-college young adults reported vaping marijuana in the past month than college students (7.8% vs. 5.2%).
However, high levels of college students reported marijuana use within the past year (38%) and in the past 30 days (21%).
Both college students and non-college young adults report using marijuana at high levels.
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College students had higher alcohol use in the past month, compared with non-college peers (62% vs. 56.4%). College students were also more likely to mix energy drinks with alcohol in the past year (31.5% vs. 26.7%).
Smoking cigarettes indicated the largest difference between college and non-college young adults, with more non-college young adults reporting smoking daily (14.4% vs. 2%). Young adults not attending college were also more likely to vape nicotine within the past month (7.9% vs. 6%).
Both college students and their non-college peers showed a dramatic decrease in the misuse of Vicodin within the past year. Vicodin misuse dropped from 8.4% in 2009 to 1.1% in 2017 among college students and from 11.2% to 1.8% among non-college young adults.
College students had lower rates of synthetic drug use, including synthetic cannabinoids (0.5% vs. 2.4%) and synthetic cathinones (0.2% vs. 1.5%), over the past year than their non-college peers.
“The continued increase of daily marijuana use among noncollege youth is especially worrisome,” John Schulenberg, PhD, principal investigator of the study from the University of Michigan, said in a press release. “The brain is still growing in the early 20s, and the scientific evidence indicates that heavy marijuana use can be detrimental to cognitive functioning and mental health.”
“Getting a foothold on the roles and responsibilities of adulthood may be all the more difficult for these one-in-eight noncollege youth who use marijuana on a daily or near daily basis,” he added. “As for college students, we know from our research and that of others that heavy marijuana use is associated with poor academic performance and dropping out of college.” – by Alaina Tedesco
Disclosure: Healio Internal Medicine was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.