More and more states are legalizing recreational marijuana, which means that if you don’t live in a state where it’s legal, you might soon. And, as new laws are written or modified, it is best that institutions fully understand marijuana and how to best address it with their campus community.
Believe it or not, marijuana isn’t as widely used on campus as you may hear and often the numbers are over-estimated. Roughly, only about one-third of students use marijuana in an entire year. However, we still recommend that you educate your campus community on facts and effects of marijuana use.
Note: We recently released a new student course, Marijuana: What You Need to Know, which was developed to help administrators better address the use of marijuana. Watch a quick preview here.
The Facts and Stats
Marijuana, sometimes referred to as weed, dope, and pot, is made up of dried flowers and leaves of cannabis. It contains mind-altering compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, and other non-mind-altering compounds like cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It can be categorized as a depressant, stimulant, or a hallucinogen.
Even though only 33% of students use marijuana on campus, research shows that its use is at the highest levels in the past three decades. And, with evolving technology, students can more easily use marijuana in the open without detection through vaporizers and edible forms. Marijuana potency should also be kept in mind as it has increased over the last few decades, in some cases by 12%.
Unfortunately, only 27% of college-aged students perceive regular use of marijuana as carrying great risk of harm. When in fact, the brain is still growing in the early 20s, and heavy use can affect cognitive functioning and mental health. And, it has correlated with poor academic performance and dropping out of college.
What You Can Do
- Educate Students on the Facts and Effects of Marijuana Use - By focusing on the facts and effects, rather than the rights or wrongs, institutions can better impact student attitudes and behaviors towards marijuana use.
- Rectify Myths of Marijuana Use - There are a lot of myths floating across college and university campuses when it comes to marijuana use, which can peer pressure students into thinking they "have to do it because everyone does." Educating students on truths about marijuana use can help students better decide for themselves to use or not use marijuana.
- Provide Resources to Those Who May Need Help - Provide and promote on- and off-campus resources to help students who are looking to curb their marijuana use on campus, such as counseling, rehabilitation services, etc.
- Establish Prevention Campaigns on Campus - Develop powerful prevention campaigns on campus that speak to your campus community about marijuana and other popular substances on campus. It's critical to think of the messaging within your campaigns and how students may interpret it.
- Review AOD Policies and Strategies Annually - It's wise to review your AOD policies and strategies annually. This helps you see where you are with the goals you set forth at the beginning of the year and where you can improve. It also helps you prepare for any new legal mandates set forth by state or federal agencies.
Unique and Engaging Marijuana Prevention Training for Students
Our new Marijuana: What You Should Know course provides students with a unique and engaging experience by incorporating student peer presenters, social norming, and evidence-based intervention strategies throughout the course.