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Daily Marijuana Use By College Students Has Peaked Since 1980

Lauren had just settled into her dorm room at Ohio State University. It was her first time living away from home. Her parents had always stressed the dangers of drugs and alcohol and she avoided temptation in high school, but she was no longer under their watchful eye.

When her roommate offered her a joint that evening, curiosity set in and she tried it. By the end of the month, Lauren was smoking marijuana a few nights per week. By the end of her freshman year, she was “wake and baking” when she first woke up and was high the majority of the time she attended class. A straight “A” student in high school, her motivation suffered enormously due to her pot use and she was struggling to just get passing grades in her college classes.

But make no mistake; Lauren isn’t alone in this.

The Use of Marijuana on Campus

The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study shows that marijuana use has been on the rise at college campuses since 2006. In fact, daily pot use is the highest among college students since 1980, with more people using marijuana than cigarettes.

Some points of interest in this study include:

  • Daily, or near-daily (at least 20 times per month), marijuana use among college students in 2014 was at 5.9 percent, up from 3.5 percent in 2007.
  • Casual and sporadic pot use is also on the rise among this population. Those who used pot at least once in the last month rose from 17 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2014, while use in the past year also jumped from 30 to 34 percent during that same period.
  • Part of this increase in use could be due to more high school students no longer viewing marijuana as a dangerous substance. About 55 percent of high school graduates (ages 19-22) viewed pot use as dangerous in 2006, but that number plummeted to mere 36 percent last year.

Clear Warning Signs

If you’re concerned that your child is smoking pot, there are a few clear warning signs to look for:

  • Observe their eyes: Bloodshot eyes are a common sign of pot use. If you start to notice bottles of red-eye relief Visine or other eye drops, that’s a likely indication.
  • Pay attention to odors: If your child or their room smells like marijuana, they’ve likely been around it and have possibly used it.
  • Drug paraphernalia: If you notice rolling papers, a pipe, bong or grinder in their room, this is usually a clear indication that they are using marijuana.
  • Changes in behavior: Do they speak more slowly than normal? Are they starting to ramble or drift out in conversation? Or giggling uncontrollably? Marijuana use creates noticeable changes in how people interact with one another.



Additional Reading: Marijuana ‘Dabbing’ Explodes Onto the Drug Abuse Scene