The latest Monitoring the Future national survey results found that daily marijuana use among college-age adults is at the highest level since the early 1980s for this age group, with 4.9 percent of college students and 12.8 percent of non-college peers reporting daily use.1,2

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance among young people and the number of youth who believe the use of marijuana is harmful is declining. Unfortunately, scientific research continues to show that heavy marijuana use that begins during the teen years may lower a person’s IQ and have negative effects on other aspects of functioning and well-being.3

Other highlights from the Monitoring the Future report included:

  • Nicotine use is generally lower in college students vs. their non-college peers. 8.9 percent of college students and 18.8 percent of non-college peers reporting smoking cigarettes within the last month.2
  • Heavy alcohol use is higher in college students than their non-college peers. 32.4 percent of college students and 28.7 percent of non-college peers report binge drinking within the last two weeks. Additionally, 40.8 percent of college students and 30.4 percent of non-college peers report having been drunk within in the past month.2
  • Amphetamine abuse is higher in college students than their non-college peers. 2.4 percent of college students and 1.6 percent of non-college peers reported misusing Ritalin over the past year. 9.9 percent of college students reported misusing Adderall compared to 6.2 percent of their non-college peers.2

Dangers of Marijuana Abuse

Policies on medical and recreational use of marijuana are changing rapidly all across the United States. As a result, our society has become (and continues to become) more accepting of marijuana use. Although marijuana does have some potential therapeutic benefits when used on a medical basis, it has also been linked to some adverse health effects.

  • Impairs short-term memory – Although this health effect is not permanent, it can impair a person’s ability to function at school, work, or even just while running routine errands at home.4
  • Impairs judgment – This short-term effect, while not permanent, can be very dangerous if an individual is driving. It could also be a trigger for violent and aggressive behavior or otherwise risky behavior.4
  • Distorts perception – This short-term effect could cause the user to experience extreme paranoia, have severe anxiety, or hallucinate and lose their sense of personal identity.4
  • Increases risk of schizophrenia in people with genetic vulnerability – Marijuana abuse has been linked to increased risk of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression, mostly in those with preexisting or genetic vulnerabilities.5
  • Impairs learning and coordination – Long-term effects of marijuana use may inhibit learning and coordination but these effects may not be permanent.5
  • Physical dependence – Studies suggest that about 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. The risk increases to 17 percent for those who started using marijuana early in their teenage years.6
  • Addiction – Although many people believe marijuana is not addictive, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that marijuana can, in fact, be addictive, and adolescent use increases the risk of addiction and marijuana misuse disorders.7

Treatment for Marijuana Dependence/Addiction

Most marijuana misuse involves physical dependence. If an individual is physically dependent on marijuana, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not using it. Because of this, all individuals who are either addicted or physically dependent on marijuana should begin treatment with a medically assisted drug detox program. This will ensure the individual is safely admitted into a detox center and can begin the withdrawal process in a safe, comfortable environment.

The physical and psychological symptoms of marijuana withdrawal will vary based on the person and their circumstances, but often times individuals will experience the following symptoms:8

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • cramps/indigestion
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness

Although these symptoms are not life-threatening, an experienced medical staff can help make sure a client is as comfortable as possible while undergoing drug detox.

Once a person has completed drug detox, recommendations can be made for ongoing addiction treatment. Such recommendations could include long-term residential drug and alcohol rehab, intensive outpatient treatment, a sober living program, or a combination of all three.

If you or a loved one is suffering from marijuana addiction or dependence, get help today. Contact the Hill Country Detox admissions team to get started.



  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2017/09/young-adults-daily-use-marijuana-concern
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/drug-alcohol-use-in-college-age-adults-in-2016
  3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know/letter-to-parents  
  4. http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/marijuana/short-and-long-term-effects.html
  5. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana-use-psychiatric-disorders
  6. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive
  7. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/letter-director
  8. https://www.marijuana-anonymous.org/literature/pamphlets/detoxing-from-marijuana
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