Daily marijuana use is at the highest rate among college students since 1981, according to the national Monitoring The Future study.
Last year, 5.1 percent of college students used marijuana daily or almost daily (20 or more times in the prior 30 days), up from 3.5 percent in 2007.
The study found in 2013, almost 36 percent of college students said they used marijuana in the past year, compared with 30 percent in 2006. The study found that overall, 39 percent of college students used illicit drugs in 2013, up from 34 percent in 2006.
Most of the increase is attributed to a rising proportion of college students who use marijuana, the researchers concluded. The results, based on a nationally representative sample of about 1,100 college students, is part of the long-term Monitoring The Future study, which also tracks substance abuse among high school students and older adults.
"This is the highest rate of daily use observed among college students since 1981 – a third of a century ago," Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the Monitoring The Future study, said in a news release. "In other words, one in every 20 college students was smoking pot on a daily or near-daily basis in 2013, including one in every 11 males and one in every 34 females. To put this into a longer-term perspective, from 1990 to 1994, fewer than one in 50 college students used marijuana that frequently."
Earlier this month, a new government study found the rate of drug and alcohol use among American teens continues to decline. The rate of current illicit drug use among teens ages 12 to 17 was 8.8 percent in 2013, compared with 9.5 percent in 2012, and 11.6 percent in 2002.
The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also found between 2002 and 2013, the level of teens with substance dependence or abuse problems decreased from 8.9 percent to 5.2 percent.