New study shows increased marijuana usage among college students

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COLUMBIA - Marijuana usage is on the rise, and a new study shows the controversial drug is becoming more prevalent on college campuses across the nation, with an even higher number at MU.

The University of Michigan surveyed college students from universities around the country and found the number of students smoking marijuana is the highest it has been since 1980.  

"Daily or near-daily marijuana use was reported by 5.9 percent of college students," the survey reported. "In other words, one in every 17 college students is smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis."

Kim Dude, director of the MU Wellness Center, said the perception of college students who actually smoke marijuana at MU is significantly skewed.

"Our data shows that our students think 96 percent of our students are smoking pot," Dude said. "We have about 12 percent of our students smoking pot on any kind of regular basis."

Due to these misperceptions, Dude believes the use of marijuana on college campuses has become a social trend and is harmful to student learning.

"Because of this misperception, that makes students think that's what they have to do to fit in," Johnson said. "The reality is, on a college campus, the effects can be very detrimental to a student's success."

Lloyd Johnson, the principal investigator of the study at the University of Michigan, said the increase in marijuana abuse has even made its way down to high school seniors. He said the use by high schoolers could be the result of a lack of knowledge of the drug. 

"Much of the increase may be due to the fact that marijuana use at any level has come to be seen as dangerous by fewer adolescents and young adults," Johnson stated in an article about the study.

Conversely, Johnson still thinks parents who have college-bound students are much more concerned about the inappropriate use of alcohol while their kids are away at school.

"I think parents are far more worried about alcohol than they are marijuana because the use is so much more significant," Johnson stated. 

Click here to read the full results of the study.