When you think of college, you likely picture parties, alcohol, and other drugs. This is probably because that is what many students across the country do in college – party hard. Recently, cannabis use in college has increased, becoming more popular than alcohol for some groups. What is it about cannabis that brings the youth together? How has it changed over the years? And what is a youth “cannabis culture” in college actually like?
The 1970s and 80s saw very high levels of cannabis use. Since then, new methods of consumption have been created. Vape devices make it easier than ever for people to take fewer hits to start feeling the effects. An article by verywell mind says that cannabis levels in vape pens are harder to regulate, so you tend to get a stronger hit. Vape pens work by heating the coils inside, so it tends to generate a stronger hit.
In an article by Study Finds, John Andere writes that there was a decline of cannabis vape pen use in 2020, despite the numbers being “more than doubled” between 2017 and 2019.
This means that cannabis use in younger college-aged students rose. In a poll by Monitoring the Future, it was found that in 2015, only 38 percent of college students reported using cannabis. By 2020, the number rose to 44 percent.
Not only has cannabis use risen, the use of hallucinogens among college students increased in 2020 ass well. Despite this, alcohol use has drastically decreased between 2019 and 2020. With all of this in mind, how has a cannabis culture in college emerged?
Sam Patz interviewed two students and an employee at Vassar College to determine if “cannabis culture” was prevalent within their campus. The sophomore and junior both expressed that there is a large percent of students on their campus that smoke cannabis.
The employee, however, had not noticed too much of a youth cannabis culture at the school.
COVID restrictions played a big role in the social life on campus. Big parties often meant drinking, but without those events, quarantines, and poor weather, students were more often at home. This meant smoking was one of the only things to keep students relaxed while also keeping up their social lives with their friends.
All three of the interviewees attested to this: alcohol is out and cannabis is in. The legalization of cannabis means that it is easier to attain, so we can expect even more of an increase in use.
In addition to all of this, some colleges and universities have created areas of study dedicated to understanding cannabis on a cultural level. Western Illinois University has an option for a minor called “Cannabis and Culture” to understand the “socio-cultural, historical, and politics of cannabis use” in the United States and around the world.
“Who has a lighter?”
We see college as a time for learning and partying, but how students choose to have fun depends on where they are and what they personally prefer. While alcohol will always be present, we can’t deny that cannabis use is becoming more and more popular among youths and college-aged adults, whether they are students or not. A youth cannabis culture is alive and well and even brings students together, especially in COVID times.
However you like to relax and kick back, one thing is for sure: someone somewhere is looking for a lighter.