Young Adult Marijuana Use Increasing

The Monitoring the Future study has found that marijuana use among US young adults ages 19-22 was higher in 2016 than it has been in 30 years. College marijuana use has increased steadily over the past decade. Use is higher yet for young adults who are part-time students or not attending college.


Around 40% of young adults said they had used marijuana in the last year — 39% of college students and 41% of non-college young adults, both with increases of about 5 percentage points over the past 2 years. In 2016 college men and women had similar rates of past 12-month and 30-day use, but daily or near-daily marijuana use was higher for college men (at 6.6%) than women (at 3.9%). Daily or near-daily use was especially high among non-college peers at 12.9%.


Marijuana use has been on the rise among young adults while it has held fairly steady among high school students. This means that the increases in college and non-college marijuana use are not inherited from high school students as they age into young adulthood. The increases in use are more likely related to decreases in perceptions of harm from regular marijuana use. Among young adults ages 19-22, seeing regular marijuana use as very risky decreased from 75% in 1991 to 50% in 2007 and to 30% in 2016, making high risk perception at its lowest level since 1980.


For more information see the UM Press Release or MTF Volume II.