Among College Students, First Time Marijuana Use is Going Up

A young person is more likely to start using marijuana for the first time if he or she goes to college, according to a new study.

 “About 1 in 5 students will become first-time marijuana users,” said study author and professor with the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research Richard Miech, Health Day reports. “If you don’t go to college, your chances are more like 1 in 10.” The results were based on survey responses from young adults between 19 and 22 who had never used marijuana by senior year of high school.

From the 1970s through the 2000s, college students were only 17 to 22 percent more likely to try marijuana for the first time.

The increasing relaxed attitudes towards marijuana use in the United States combined with the typical characteristics of college life – free time, fewer responsibilities, partying, etc. – could be behind the sharp rise.

The study, entitled “The Influence of College Attendance on Risk for Marijuana Initiation in the United States: 1977 to 2015,” is in the American Journal of Public Health.