A recent study shows that students at an unnamed public Oregon university have been using more marijuana in the past two years. Researchers this increase could be partly attributed to its legalized a couple of years ago.

The Study

According to a group of researchers at Oregon State University, students at an unnamed large public Oregon university use more marijuana in the past couple of years. The study was mainly done in order to understand the possible impact of the legalization of marijuana on its recreational use.

The researchers collected data from 10,924 undergrad students- all aged 18 to 26. They also used pre-existing data from Michigan University. They found that the main groups who increased their marijuana use were students under 21, the legal marijuana consumption age, and “binge” alcohol drinkers.

The study also found general increases from 6 out of 7 universities in the United states. This particular Oregon University showed among the highest increases.

The Researchers on the Study

David Kerr, the lead author of the study, said: “It does appear that legalization is having an effect on usage, but there is some nuance to the findings that warrant further investigation.”

“We found that overall, at schools in different parts of the country, there’s been an increase in marijuana use among college students, so we can’t attribute that increase to legalization alone.”

Kerr said that the focus of the study was to understand the impact of legalizing marijuana. “It’s an important current issue and even the most basic effects have not been studied yet, especially in Oregon,” he said. “There are a lot of open questions about how legalization might affect new users, existing users and use of other substances.”

“It’s likely that the rise in marijuana use across the country is tied in part to liberalization of attitudes about the drug as more states legalize it, for recreational or medical purposes or both,” Kerr said. “So legalization both reflects changing attitudes and may influence them even outside of states where the drug is legal.”

The study also found that there has also been a drop in cigarette use since marijuana’s legalization. Other studies have also found that opioid use has also dropped since.

Regarding the link of increased marijuana use in binge-drinkers, Ker said: “We think this tells us more about the people who binge drink than about the effects of alcohol itself.”

“Those who binge drink may be more open to marijuana use if it is easy to access, whereas those who avoid alcohol for cultural or lifestyle reasons might avoid marijuana regardless of its legal status.”


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