Social Workers, Counselors, MFTs

Marijuana use at historic highs among college-age adults

October 16, 2019

Newly released Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey data on drug use in college-age adults ages 19-22 shows an increase in marijuana use in the past five years, including vaping with marijuana, as well as a significant increase in nicotine vaping. The survey is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

Marijuana Use: The survey shows that past-year use of marijuana is similar for college students and their non-college peers at about 43%, representing an approximate 7% five-year increase for college students with rates for both groups at historic highs over the past 35 years. However, daily or near-daily use of marijuana is considerably higher among the non-college group with about one in nine non-college respondents reporting daily or near-daily use, compared to about one in 17 college students.

Marijuana Vaping: The past 30-day prevalence of vaping marijuana among college students doubled between 2017 and 2018, to 10.9% from 5.2%. Past month marijuana vaping rates for their non-college peers were stable at 7.9% in 2018 compared to 7.8% in 2017.

Nicotine Vaping: Among college students, past month nicotine vaping more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, to 15.5%, from 6.1% one of the largest proportional increases for any substance since the MTF survey began more than 40 years ago. Nicotine vaping among college students now appears to be more popular than the rate reported by the non-college group (12.5%). While cigarette smoking continues to be at an all-time low for both groups, rates are considerably higher for the non-college group than their non-college peers.