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Marijuana use in college remains at highest level in 3 decades, University of Michigan study says

Posted: 4:53 AM, Sep 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-05 13:46:18Z

Marijuana use among college students was at the highest levels seen in the past three decades in 2016, and that trend remained true in 2017, according to a study from the University of Michigan.

Heavy marijuana use among youth not in college is also on the rise, according to findings. High levels of marijuana use among 19 to 22-year-olds resulted from a gradual increase over the past decades.

In 2017, according to the study, 38 percent of full-time college students aged 19-22 reported using marijuana at least once in the past 12 months, and 21 percent reported using at least once in the prior 30 days.

"The continued increase of daily marijuana use among noncollege youth is especially worrisome," said John Schulenberg, principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future Panel Study. "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. 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."

The study cites multiple reasons for the continued increase in marijuana use. One likely reason is that there is a decline in perceptions of risk of harm from regular marijuana use. In 2017, 27 percent of those aged 19-22 perceived regular use of marijuana as carrying great risk of harm, the lowest level since 1980.

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