(The 74) Research has consistently shown that people report using marijuana in order to feel the high, experience enhanced feelings, increase social connections or cope with certain feelings and moods.
Among young adults early in the pandemic, there were modest reductions in motivations for using marijuana for celebratory reasons and slight increases toward using marijuana because of boredom, possibly due to initial physical distancing mandates and stay-at-home orders. However, among the main reasons for using, both before the pandemic and during as well, are feelings of enjoyment or the high associated with marijuana use.
We do not yet know the impact of these shifting motivations for using marijuana or whether patterns seen during the pandemic will continue after.
How many college students are actually using cannabis?
With 18 states legalizing cannabis for non-medical or “recreational” purposes – the first of which did so in 2012 – access to marijuana has increased, especially for college students over 21 years of age. While the past three reports from Monitoring the Future – a national drug use survey conducted annually by the University of Michigan – have shown that between 43% and 44% of college students report any cannabis use in the past year, over half of college students do not report use. This is important to note because research has shown that when people think “everyone” is doing something, they are more likely to start doing it themselves or do it more. Read more.