Marijuana use among U.S. college students reached a historic high in 2020, while alcohol use took a “significant” drop, according to the 2020 Monitoring the Future panel study.
The uptick represents the highest levels of marijuana use recorded since the 1980s. The survey found daily marijuana use — defined as using it on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days — increased to 7.9 percent in 2020 among 19- to 22-year-old full-time college students. That’s an increase of 3.3 percentage points over the past five years.
Use of hallucinogens — including LSD and psilocybin mushrooms — also increased among college students last year, reaching the highest level since 1982. However, the survey found that marijuana and nicotine vaping leveled off in 2020 after sharp increases reported every year since 2017.
There was also a “significant” drop on college students’ alcohol use, the survey said, with 56 percent of students reporting alcohol use within the past 30 days, compared to 62 percent in 2019. Additionally, 28 percent of students reported being drunk in the past 30 days, compared to 35 percent in 2019. John Schulenberg, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future panel study, said in a press release the “historic low” in binge drinking is a product of the COVID-19 pandemic, since students had reduced time with friends.