Marijuana use is a hotly debated topic these days with experts weighing the pros and cons of its medical and recreational use. This is largely because many states in the United States have legalized marijuana use owing to its medical benefits while many are considering doing the same. Apart from this, while many states like Alaska, California, Colorado, have legalized recreational use of marijuana, many have also opposed this move citing the addictive nature of these drugs.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), regular use of marijuana can lead to the development of a marijuana use disorder, which eventually progresses to an addiction. As per recent data, nearly 30 percent of marijuana users tend to exhibit some degree of marijuana use disorder. The disorder can be described as the dependence of the body on the substance due to which the user experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop consuming the marijuana.
Marijuana dependency occurs when the “brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing production of and sensitivity to its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters,” states NIDA. This dependency eventually develops into an addiction, wherein the users cannot stop using the drug despite it hindering their normal course of life. Recently, a study found that use of marijuana has increased among college students.
Marijuana use among college students at a record high
According to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan, “In 2015, 38 percent of college students said they had used marijuana in the prior 12 months, up from 30 percent in 2006.” The study further added that there has been an equal increase, from 3.5 percent in 2007 to 5.9 percent in 2014, in the daily or regular use of marijuana among college students in the recent years. It is the highest level of daily use measured in the last 34 years, added the study.
Explaining the probable reason behind the increase, John Schulenberg, one of the study’s lead researchers said that the perceived risk of harm regarding marijuana use has decreased among the population, especially the youth. Which implies that they consider the substance to be less harmful and often end up ignoring the risk of addiction.
Drop in use of other drugs
As per the above study, while there is a stark increase in the use of marijuana among the college students, there is a significant decline in the use of other narcotic drugs among the population. “Nonmedical use of prescription narcotic drugs has been declining among college students since reaching a high in 2006 of 8.8 percent annual prevalence (that is, any use in the prior 12 months). By 2015, 3.3 percent of college students reported using any narcotic drug in the past 12 months without medical supervision––a drop of about six-tenths,” added the study.
Notably, heroin use, which was highly prevalent among college students for many years reported a significant drop. “The highest annual prevalence recorded since 1980 was in 1998 at 0.6 percent, but the rate has been at or under 0.3 percent since 2005 and was down to 0.1 percent in 2015,” mentioned the study.
Similarly, a significant fall of nearly 80 percent was identified in case of synthetic marijuana (K-2 and Spice), from 8.5 percent in 2011 to 1.5 percent in 2015. A slight decline was also recorded in case of amphetamines use. The percentage of college students using the substance in 2015 declined from 11.1 percent in 2012 to 9.7 percent.
Drug addiction can be overcome
At a time when the entire nation is struggling to curb widespread drug addiction, especially among college students, the above study throws light on an important aspect that needs to be immediately addressed. The findings of the study emphasize the urgent need to create awareness on the harmful effects of marijuana and its potential to lead to an addiction.
If you or someone that you know is addicted to marijuana, it’s time to reach out for professional help. Contact the California Drug Addiction Helpline to begin walking the path to sobriety and find the best drug rehab centers in California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1946 or chat online to know about the best rehab centers in California and find the right addiction rehab program offered at our centers.