Source:

Schulenberg JE, et al. Monitoring the future: National survey results on drug use 1975-2020. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. 2021.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
September 09, 2021
2 min read
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Marijuana use among college-aged adults at highest level since 1980s

Source:

Schulenberg JE, et al. Monitoring the future: National survey results on drug use 1975-2020. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. 2021.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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College students and peers of the same age are using marijuana at a rate not seen since the 1980s, according to an NIH-funded study.

The Monitoring the Future study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, has been tracking substance use among young adults aged 19 to 22 years since 1980.

Findings from the report, released this week, show that in the year 2020, marijuana use reached its highest level in over 3 decades, with a reported 44% of college students surveyed saying they used the drug in the past year, an increase from the 38% who reported using it in 2015. A total of 43% of their noncollege peers also said they used marijuana in the last year, with that figure remaining the same since 2018.

About 8% of college student respondents also said that they used marijuana daily, compared with 5% in 2015. A total of 13% of the noncollege respondents said they used it on a near-daily basis, which the study said was “consistent” with recent years.

The American Heart Association has previously cited evidence that cannabis use could harm the heart and blood vessels. Another study presented at the 2017 American College of Cardiology Scientific Session linked marijuana use to a higher risk for strokes and heart failure.

Nora Volkow

NIDA Director Nora Volkow, MD, said that it was suspected that the pandemic affected how young people used substances.

“The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the way that young people interact with one another and offers us an opportunity to examine whether drug taking behavior has shifted through these changes,” Volkow said in a news release. “Moving forward, it will be critical to investigate how and when different substances are used among this young population, and the impact of these shifts over time.”

The report also noted that the increase in vaping among college-aged adults seen between 2017 and 2019 had leveled off, and that there were significantly lower rates of alcohol use (56% vs. 62%) and binge drinking (24% vs. 32%) in 2020 compared with 2019. It noted a 5-year increase in the rate of hallucinogenic use, from 5% of respondents in 2015 to 9% last year. Cigarette smoking, nonmedical use of amphetamines and prescription opioid abuse also declined.

References:

Press release.

Schulenberg JE, et al. Monitoring the future: National survey results on drug use 1975-2020. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. 2021.