Long Story Short
Over the past few days, a couple of new studies have been published that give us a clearer picture of what the marijuana scene in the U.S. looks like. And one of the things this picture shows us is that 20-somethings tend to use cannabis more than anyone else. That trend is especially pronounced among college students.
20-Somethings And Cannabis
The first critical study comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They just published their newest findings of marijuana use in the USA. Cannabis use is on the rise in virtually every demographic except for teens.
But there’s one group that seems to be puffing more herb than anyone else. The report said that the biggest increase in marijuana use is among those who are 26 years old and up.
In that demographic, the number of pot smokers increased by 44% since 2002. Younger 20-somethings also saw an increase. Since 2002 there’s been a 7% increase in the number of people aged 18-25 who use cannabis.
College Students Are Getting A “Higher” Education
The trends highlighted in the new CDC report are especially pronounced among college students. At least that’s what a new report from the University of Michigan said.
That study found that the number of college students who use cannabis is continuing to rise. In 2015, 38% of college students said they smoked marijuana at least once in the previous year. That’s up from 30% in 2006.
There’s been a similar increase in the number of college students who use cannabis heavily. Back in 2007, 3.5% of college students said they’d used marijuana at least 20 times in the previous 30 days. That number rose to 5.9% in 2014.
Researchers involved with the report also noted that while marijuana use is up, there’s been a drop in the number of college students using other drugs. Narcotic and amphetamine use, for example, have been falling steadily.
“It appears that college students, at least, are hearing and heeding the warnings about the very considerable dangers of using narcotic drugs,” said researcher Lloyd Johnston.
20-Somethings Don’t Think Cannabis Is Dangerous
Over the past ten years or so, there’s been a steady rise in the number of 20-somethings and college students who use cannabis. And a lot of that probably comes from the growing perception that marijuana isn’t harmful.
The University of Michigan report found that there’s been a sharp decline in the percentage of 20-somethings who see marijuana as dangerous. In 2003, a full 58% of all people between the ages of 19 and 22 thought it was dangerous. But by 2015, only 33% of them saw cannabis as harmful.