First-Time Marijuana Use Among College Students is at Highest Level in Three Decades

First-time marijuana use among college students is at the highest level in three decades, a new study finds.

Among 19- to 22-year-olds who had never used marijuana by 12th grade, those who go to college are 51 percent more likely to try the drug than those who do not attend college, HealthDay reports.

Full story of first-time marijuana users highest among college students at drugfree.org

For young adults, cigarettes more pleasurable with alcohol than with pot

Young adults get more pleasure from smoking cigarettes while they are drinking alcohol than they do while using marijuana, according to a new UC San Francisco study.

The study is the first to document that tobacco accompanied by alcohol provides cigarette smokers with a greater perceived reward than when they smoke cigarettes while using marijuana.

The study will be published online April 18 in the journal Addiction Research & Theory.

“What we’ve learned may have important implications for understanding differences in co-use of cigarettes with alcohol versus marijuana,” said co-first author Noah R. Gubner, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF.

Full story of cigarettes and alcohol use in young adults at Science Daily

State Votes on Recreational Marijuana Could Raise Stronger Challenge to Federal Ban

Five states will vote next month whether to legalize recreational marijuana. If the states vote to legalize the drug, the federal government’s ban on marijuana will face a stronger challenge, The New York Times reports.

California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada will be voting on legalization initiatives. Recreational marijuana is already legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it would not reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Full story of voting on recreational marijuana use at drugfree.org

Increase in Marijuana Use Seen in College Students, While Use of Opioids Declines

College students in the United States are using more marijuana than in previous years, according to a new study. Last year 38 percent of college students said they used marijuana in the past year, up from 30 percent in 2006.

Use of other drugs, including opioids and amphetamines, declined among college students,HealthDay reports. The findings come from the Monitoring the Future study, conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

Full story of college students use of marijuana and opioids at drugfree.org

Scientists Warn About Mental Health Consequences of Using Marijuana

A group of scientists in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia is warning about the potential mental health consequences of marijuana use, The Guardian reports. They say frequent use of marijuana increases the risk of psychotic disorders in vulnerable people.

The scientists are calling for global public health campaigns to warn the public about marijuana’s risks. They say the vast majority of people who smoke marijuana do not develop psychotic disorders. But those who do can suffer from hallucinations, delusions and irrational behavior. Most people recover from these episodes, but some go on to develop schizophrenia, the article notes. Heavy marijuana use is associated with an increased risk.

“It’s not sensible to wait for absolute proof that cannabis is a component cause of psychosis,” said Sir Robin Murray, Professor of Psychiatric Research at King’s College London. “There’s already ample evidence to warrant public education around the risks of heavy use of cannabis, particularly the high-potency varieties. For many reasons, we should have public warnings.”

Full story of mental health consequences of marijuana at drugfree.org