Monday January 20, 2020

U.S. College Students Using Marijuana at Highest Rates in 35 Years

About 43% of full-time college students said they used some form of pot at least once in the past year, up from 38%

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Marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, California, Aug. 15, 2019. VOA

U.S. college students are using marijuana at the highest rates in 35 years, according to a report released Thursday.

About 43% of full-time college students said they used some form of pot at least once in the past year, up from 38%, a University of Michigan survey found. About 25% said they did so in the previous month, up from 21%.

The latest figures are the highest levels seen in the annual survey since 1983.

About 6% of college students said they used marijuana 20 or more times in the past month. For adults the same age who weren’t enrolled in college, the figure was 11%.

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U.S. college students are using marijuana at the highest rates in 35 years, according to a report released Thursday. LifetimeStock

“It’s the frequent use we’re most worried about” because it’s linked to poor academic performance and can be detrimental to mental health, said John Schulenberg, one of the Michigan researchers.

College-age adults are the biggest users of marijuana than any other age group. Use among high school students has been flat for a few years.

The 2018 findings are based on responses from about 1,400 adults age 19 to 22, including 900 who were full-time college students and about 500 who were not.

The survey only has comparable data on college kids going back to 1980. So it doesn’t say how common marijuana use was in the 1960’s and 1970’s — a time when marijuana use on college campuses was considered widespread.

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Marijuana use has been rising in college-age kids for more than a decade. Schulenberg said it seems to be tied to views about risk — in the early 1990s, about three-quarters of young adults said pot was risky. But last year it was down to 22%.

The survey also found about 11% of college students said they vaped marijuana in the previous month — more than double the figure in the 2017 survey. (VOA)

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Here’s How Marijuana can Have an Impact on Your Driving Ability

Marijuana may affect driving ability for 12 hours after use

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Marijuana
Marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use. Pixabay

Researchers have found that marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that in addition to chronic, heavy, recreational cannabis use being associated with poorer driving performance in non-intoxicated individuals compared to non-users.

While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high.

“People who use cannabis don’t necessarily assume that they may drive differently, even when they’re not high,” said study researcher Staci Gruber from McLean Hospital in the US.

“We’re not suggesting that everyone who uses cannabis will demonstrate impaired driving, but it’s interesting that in a sample of non-intoxicated participants, there are still differences in those who use cannabis relative to those who don’t,” Gruber added.

Marijuana
While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high. Pixabay

For the findings, the research team used a customised driving simulator to assess the potential impact of cannabis use on driving performance.

At the time of study, marijuana users had not used for at least 12 hours and were not intoxicated.

Overall, heavy marijuana users demonstrated poorer driving performance as compared to non-users.

For example, in the simulated driving exercise, marijuana users hit more pedestrians, exceeded the speed limit more often, made fewer stops at red lights, and made more center line crossings.

When researchers divided the marijuana users into groups based on when they started using cannabis, they found that significant driving impairment was detected and completely localized to those who began using marijuana regularly before age 16.

“It didn’t surprise us that performance differences on the driving simulator were primarily seen in the early onset group,” said study researcher Mary Kathryn Dahlgren.

According to the authors, research has consistently shown that early substance use, including the use of cannabis, is associated with poorer cognitive performance.

“What was interesting was when we examined impulsivity in our analyses, most of the differences we saw between cannabis users and healthy controls went away, suggesting that impulsivity may play a role in performance differences,” Dahlgre added.

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“There’s been a lot of interest in how we can more readily and accurately identify cannabis intoxication at the roadside, but the truth of the matter is that it is critical to assess impairment, regardless of the source or cause,” she said. o

“It’s important to be mindful that whether someone is acutely intoxicated, or a heavy recreational cannabis user who’s not intoxicated, there may be an impact on driving,” she added. (IANS)