Michigan – Daily marijuana use among US college students continues to rise, even surpassing daily cigarette smoking for the first time in 2014. A new study found that one in every 17 college students is smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis. But what is most concerning about the report is that the use of other drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy, are also on the rise.

The research conducted by the University of Michigan created a series of national surveys for US college students to fill. The results showed that marijuana use has been growing in college campuses since 2006.

Daily or near-daily marijuana use was reported by 5.9% of college students in 2014, which is the highest rate since 1980 – the first year that complete college data were available for the study. By 2007, the rate was of 3.5%. Scientists were also surprised with the fact that for the first time in 35 years, marijuana consumption has actually beaten cigarette use in campuses.

Photo:Ted S. Warren/AP
Photo:Ted S. Warren/AP

The green door

While marijuana use is on the rise, so is the consumption of other illicit substances. Marijuana use may not have much secondary effects as recent studies keep proving and is also considered to be a mild drug. Nonetheless, many are worried that it could be a gateway drug for more serious substances. In 2008 only 15% of students reported using an illicit drug besides marijuana on the previous 12 months. However, that rate has increased to 21% in 2014. Illicit drug use is now at its highest point since the study began in 1980.

For instance, is a fact that the use of ecstasy and cocaine are making a comeback. In 2007, only 2.2% of students admitted to have used ecstasy in the prior 12 months, but the rate rose to 5.8% in 2012 and has continued to grow since. The consumption of cocaine has also risen from 2.7% in 2013, to 4.4% in 2014.

Lloyd Johnson, lead investigator of the study, claimed that the rise in the use of amphetamines, which has climbed from 5.7% to 10.1% in 2014, may be linked to students aiming to improve their performance in college.

As the study wasn’t intended to determine the causes of the substances’ use, it remains unknown why drug rates have increased non-stop among college students. Many argue that marijuana use may have risen due to its legalization in may states of the US.

Tobacco and Drinking

On the other hand, cigarette smoking has decreased with only 5% of students reporting to smoke cigarettes on a daily basis. Nevertheless, researchers noted that other forms of tobacco smoking, like hookah pipes and e-cigarettes, are currently trending and on the rise.

Recent anti-smoking campaigns, in combination with high taxes that have made cigarette packs to cost over $10 dollars in some places, appear to be having their intended effect, and are discouraging young people from smoking.

Drinking also remains high, with 63% of students that had drink in the past 30 days. However, this is actually a decrease since 1980, when at the time 80% of the student reported to have been drinking.

Source: University of Michigan