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Percentage of US College Students Using Marijuana at the Highest Level in 30 Years, Claims New Study

The increasing use of marijuana among college students deserves immediate attention from college personnel as well as students and their parents

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Marijuana grower and activist Juan Vaz checks marijuana plants in Montevideo, Uruguay, VOA
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Washington, September 12, 2017 : Percentage of US college students using marijuana was at the highest level in 2016 since the past three decades, according to a study conducted by University of Michigan researchers.

The national Monitoring the Future follow-up study, funded by the the National Institute on Drug Abuse, showed in 2016, 39 per cent of full-time college students aged 19-22 indicated that they used marijuana at least once in 12 months, and 22 per cent indicated that they used at least once in 30 days, reports Xinhua news agency.

ALSO READ Substance abuse of Marijuana rises in the United States

Both of these 2016 percentages were the highest since 1987, and represented a steady increase since 2006, when they were 30 and 17 per cent, respectively.

Daily or near daily use of marijuana-defined as having used 20 or more times in the prior 30 days-was at 4.9 per cent in 2016; this is among the highest levels seen in more than 30 years, though it has not shown any further rise in the past two years.

“These continuing increases in marijuana use, particularly heavy use, among the nation’s college students deserve attention from college personnel as well as students and their parents,” John Schulenberg, the current principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future follow-up study, said on Monday.

“We know from our research and that of others that heavy marijuana use is associated with poor academic performance and non-completion of college.

In 2016, 30 per cent of those aged 19-22 perceived regular use of marijuana as carrying great risk of harm, the lowest level reached since 1980.

These findings come from the long term Monitoring the Future study, which has been tracking substance use of all kinds among American college students for the past 37 years. (IANS)

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Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s

Immunosuppresive drugs likely to keep Parkinson's at bay

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Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson's Progression
Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson's Progression. Pixabay

People who are on drugs to suppress their immune system are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease — a neurological disorder characterised by tremors, slow movements, stiffness and difficulty walking, a new study claimed.

The results, published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, showed that people with several types of autoimmune diseases, including ulcerative colitis were less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s than the general population.

The investigators noted that many autoimmune diseases have one common thing, that is, they are treated with drugs that dampen immune activity.

“We’ve found that taking certain classes of immunosuppressant drugs reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s. One group of drugs in particular looks really promising and warrants further investigation to determine whether it can slow disease progression,” said Brad Racette from Washington University-St. Louis in the US.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The study showed that people taking corticosteroids — used for treating inflammatory diseases — such as prednisone were 20 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s, while those on inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMDH)– an enzyme — inhibitors were about one-third less likely.

While, immunosuppresive drugs may keep Parkinson’s at bay, it may ,however, increase the chances of developing infectious diseases and cancer.

The benefits of these drugs outweigh the costs for people with serious autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis but doctors would probably hesitate to prescribe risky drugs to healthy people to stave off Parkinson’s, especially since there is no reliable way to predict who is on track to develop the disease, the team explained.

Also Read: Cancer Patients Turn Incredible Photographers

“What we really need is a drug for people who are newly diagnosed, to prevent the disease from worsening. It’s a reasonable assumption that if a drug reduces the risk of getting Parkinson’s, it also will slow disease progression, and we’re exploring that now,” Racette said.

For the study, the team analysed prescription drug data on 48,295 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and 52,324 people never diagnosed with Parkinson’s and developed an algorithm to predict which people would be diagnosed with the disease. (IANS)