Cannabis Use and the College Experience:

A Quick-Dive into the Adverse Effects

The foggy air of cannabis debates is clearing to reveal a stark reality—its use, especially among college students, has far-reaching implications that extend beyond the hazy highs to affect psychosocial facets. Recent studies have shone a spotlight on the link between college students’ cannabis use and a buffet of adverse outcomes including depression, anxiety, and even violent victimization. This delicate subtext unearthed from the bustling collegiate environment demands a re-evaluation of institutional strategies and a more informed conversation about drug education and support systems.

Recreation or Self-Medication?

Navigating the Statistics on College Cannabis Use

Cannabis, among college students, has transcended the ‘rite of passage’ narrative to burgeon into a widespread truth. The numbers don’t lie – approximately 20% of North American college students confessed to using cannabis within the past 30 days. This staggering statistic isn’t just about recreational choices; it’s an indicator of a deeper, more complex situation that warrants vigilance and constructive intervention strategies.

But what exactly do these usage statistics mean in the grander scheme of college life? The implications are diverse and profound. They echo in the corridors of academic institutions and affect a plethora of experiences, from mental health to social engagements.

The Psychosocial Trail of Cannabis in College

The correlation between cannabis use and psychosocial elements paints a picture of alarm. A study spanning across thousands of students revealed that cannabis users were at significantly higher odds of experiencing depression, suicidal ideation and behavior, anxiety, eating disorders, and victimization. These findings are a call to action for universities, highlighting the need for expanded educational programs, evidence-based prevention strategies, and intensified early-intervention tactics.

Cannabis users in college also reported a greater prevalence of co-use with other substances, indicating a possible trend of polydrug engagement. This alarmingly intertwines with patterns of daily stress, drinking motives, and beyond. The clear narrative emerging is that cannabis, when entangled with social and academic pressures, can become a combustible mix leading to multifaceted detriments.

Crafting Collegiate Responses to Cannabis Use

In the wake of these revelations, academic institutions are implored to revisit their support frameworks for students. Strategies that aim to redefine the cannabis conversation and offer multilayered assistance have never been more pivotal.

Colleges should consider implementing stringent policies that address substance abuse within the student community while avoiding the stigmatization of users. Initiatives focusing on stress management, mental wellness, and peer support can serve as preventive measures, intervening before cannabis use spirals into adverse psychosocial implications.

Additionally, robust support systems that offer counseling, personalized interventions, and harm-reduction models can be invaluable in reaching out to students who’ve already taken the cannabis plunge. Such systems should work in tandem with educational campaigns that emphasize the long-term effects of cannabis on the young, developing mind.

The Neurological Pathways of Cannabis

To truly understand the impact of cannabis on college students’ psychosocial health, it’s indispensable to explore the neurological implications. The brain undergoes significant changes during adolescence and young adulthood, making this a particularly vulnerable period. Cannabis use can interfere with the maturation of the prefrontal cortex, the region responsible for complex cognitive behavior, decision making, and the moderation of social behavior.

Further, the endocannabinoid system, which cannabis influences, plays a pivotal role in memory, reward processing, and stress responses. Disruption to this system can have profound effects on these domains. For college students on the cusp of adulthood, where cognitive and emotional growth are in flux, the implications of cannabis reach beyond just the act of consumption.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Tackling College Cannabis Use

Efforts to minimize cannabis-associated health risks among college students require a multidisciplinary approach. This approach should combine the expertise of educators, mental health professionals, and addiction specialists. By fostering dialogue, imparting robust educational programs, and developing interventions that cater to individual needs, we can guide students towards healthier choices.

Redefining Prevention in the College Context

When addressing cannabis use, prevention is key. However, traditional drug prevention models can be outdated and ineffective at the college level. It’s time to embody a dynamic, progressive prevention ethos that resonates with the modern college student.

This ethos starts with understanding the student body’s motivations, triggers, and environmental stressors. By creating tailored educational initiatives and fostering a culture of health and resilience, colleges can play a significant role in prevention efforts.

Leveraging Technology and Student Engagement

In the digital age, technology can be a powerful ally in the battle against cannabis misuse. Platforms that offer anonymous support, data-driven feedback on usage patterns, and curated content centered on harm-reduction principles can foster engagement and provoke thought. Gamified interventions and peer-led support networks can also provide a supplementary layer of reach and relatability that traditional methods may lack.

Integrating Cannabis Education into the Curriculum

While cannabis education often falls under the purview of student services or public health initiatives, there is merit in integrating it into the academic curriculum. By incorporating cannabis studies into relevant disciplines like psychology, sociology, and public health, colleges can present a nuanced view of the drug and its implications. This would not only create a more informed student body but could also foster research that informs future policy and interventions.


Cannabis use is a nuanced issue, particularly among college students. It encompasses a spectrum of experiences, motivations, and consequences that challenge conventional paradigms. In the face of mounting evidence, it’s the responsibility of college administrations to evolve their strategies, policies, and support systems to address the complex interplay between cannabis and the college experience.

The path forward lies in a commitment to comprehensive research, empathetic understanding, and the development of innovative, student-centered solutions. By leading the conversation with knowledge and proactive approaches, colleges can help shape a safer and more fulfilling educational environment for all their students.






(Adding another public health wrecking ball – cannabis – to the currents of trade is not going to better, on any level, the society who embraces that new #reefermadness)


Is marijuana really safer than alcohol? Today, we tackle this common misconception with the following thought provoking facts. Check out our new video (please share!), and the below links to some relevant research, parent testimonials, and PopPot’s excellent blog posts on this important topic.

Think Ya Know: Is Marijuana Safer than Alcohol?

What Does the Science Say?

“Beyond the role of cognition in vulnerability to substance use, the concurrent and lasting effects of adolescent cannabis use can be observed on important cognitive functions and appear to be more pronounced than those observed for alcohol.” 

See marijuana vs. alcohol research published by Psychiatry Online.

Cannabis does not replace alcohol or take away the harms of alcohol. Cannabis use is associated with increased risk of Alcohol Use Disorder.

See this research on Cannabis Use and Alcohol Use Disorders published on Science Direct.

“People who smoked cannabis four or more days of the week over many years ended up in a lower social class than their parents, with lower-paying, less skilled and less prestigious jobs than those who were not regular cannabis smokers,” said Magdalena Cerdá, an epidemiologist at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program. “These regular and persistent users also experienced more financial, work-related and relationship difficulties, which worsened as the number of years of regular cannabis use progressed.”

Check out this U.C. Davis research on cannabis and negative outcomes.

Which is worse: pot or alcohol?

A CBS News affiliate did a report in 2014: “There actually is quite a difference between pot and alcohol.” of LaCrosse, Wisconsin aired this news report in 2014, as some U.S. states began to legalize marijuana.

Marijuana is as Dangerous as Alcohol Behind the Wheel

Two testimonies from the blog show that marijuana is just as deadly as alcohol when the driver is impaired.

Read of one mother’s tragic loss of her daughter in a marijuana DUI. Read Medical Marijuana and My Daughter’s Life Collided.

And, of a father’s loss, his son’s death from riding with a driver who had marijuana in her system. Read From Eagle Scout and Standout Athlete to Drugs and Early Death.

Public Health Official Statement

Poppot reported last year on the U.S. Surgeon General’s strong warnings that marijuana is not safe.

Read our article and follow the link to the Surgeon General’s “marijuana unsafe” press conference.

Other Resources for Parents

We highly recommend the Project SAM toolkit as a means of educating yourself and others about the marijuana issue. 

Here is our recent blog post (a great one to send to others!), Marijuana Is Worse than Alcohol.

Here is our popular blog post Marijuana: What Parent’s Need to Know Today which contains a quick primer on risks and harms and the increased dangers of the highly potent forms of marijuana being sold today.

Take Action

Tell your representatives not to take marijuana money, Sign this petition by Project SAM.

You can build community with others who have been harmed by marijuana, and empower youth to not be pressured to use it.

Join us October 1-3 in Washington DC for our Voices of Truth rally
in support of those families dealing with tragedies caused by marijuana.

For more information, please visit

(Source PAENTS OPPOSED TO POT, used by permission)


Playing with Pot to get around the law – Damage is still being done – But the ‘legal’ harms are on the State.

Adolescent Δ8-THC and Marijuana Use in the US

JAMA. 2024;331(10):861-865. doi:10.1001/jama.2024.0865

Question:  What is the prevalence of self-reported Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and marijuana use among 12th-grade students in the US and its distribution across sociodemographic factors and state cannabis policies?

Findings:  In this nationally representative 2023 survey, 11.4% of 2186 US 12th-grade students self-reported Δ8-THC use and 30.4% self-reported marijuana use in the past year. Δ8-THC use prevalence was higher in the South and Midwest US and in states without legal adult-use marijuana or Δ8-THC regulations. Marijuana use prevalence did not differ by cannabis policies.

Meaning:  Δ8-THC use prevalence is appreciable among US adolescents and is a potential public health concern.


Importance:  Gummies, flavored vaping devices, and other cannabis products containing psychoactive hemp-derived Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are increasingly marketed in the US with claims of being federally legal and comparable to marijuana. National data on prevalence and correlates of Δ8-THC use and comparisons to marijuana use among adolescents in the US are lacking.

Objective:  To estimate the self-reported prevalence of and sociodemographic and policy factors associated with Δ8-THC and marijuana use among US adolescents in the past 12 months.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This nationally representative cross-sectional analysis included a randomly selected subset of 12th-grade students in 27 US states who participated in the Monitoring the Future Study in-school survey during February to June 2023.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome was self-reported Δ8-THC and marijuana use in the past 12 months (any vs no use and number of occasions used).

Conclusions and Relevance  Δ8-THC use prevalence is appreciable among US adolescents and is higher in states without marijuana legalization or existing Δ8-THC regulations. Prioritizing surveillance, policy, and public health efforts addressing adolescent Δ8-THC use may be warranted.

For complete research go to Adolescent Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network

Also see



(Pot-Propaganda is Libelous)


Billboards across the country advertise marijuana with false health claims that would never be allowed for tobacco or alcohol.  Big, bold and high (no pun intended), these signs help to sell the drug — while being seen by thousands of children.

Seen in Massachusetts

Why can’t state regulators stop these assaults on the public that attempt to portray weed as the road to a long life and better health?

Our answer: the cannabis industry which has legions of lobbyists in state governments — routinely prevails against sensible legislation. Only the states of Vermont and Montana ban billboard advertising. Most states struggle to regulate marijuana because the industry overpowers legislators with incredible promises.

Portland, Oregon

This sampling of billboards from around the country proves that the cannabis industry gets away with “murder” in legalization states.  It also proves that the ganjapreneurs, or so-called cannabis “doctors,” make fraudulent claims.  

Las Vegas

The “medical” marijuana industry’s false advertising began when they adopted a green cross, a pharmaceutical sign used in Europe.  The gimmick continued by using the term “dispensary, ” which means a clinic, or a room where medicine is dispensed.  Marijuana is numbness, not medicine.  Chicago in 2021

The pot industry understands addiction marketing.   In Chicago, 2021, Cresco Labs ran billboards repeating the word, EVERYDAY several times.   Of course, a public outcry followed.  

Marketing sex

After public outcry, an advertisement for cannabis-infused drinks near O’Hare Airport was replaced with something less sexual.

More recently, drivers into Chicago and O’ Hare Airport were greeted with a large billboard exclaiming that cannabis-infused drinks are better than SEX.  Big bold letters and hot red on a white background were used to capture attention.

A public outcry followed, with complaints written in the Chicago newspapers.  We’re happy to see that the sign was recently replaced,  but it still advertises for cannabis-infused drinks.

In Washington state, signs of pretty young women lure people into a pot shop called “Green Lady Marijuana.”

What about the Freebies?  

In Colorado, one billboard announced Free Dabs.   

Even worse, an activist group in Washington, DC,  gave out free marijuana with COVID shots.  The program was called “Joints for Jabs.”   Washington, DC, bans pot shops but allows gifting.

Most despicable are the advertising campaigns trying to get parents, and particularly women, to use weed.   Based on the number of child abuse deaths caused by pot-using parents and the knowledge that pregnant women must not use cannabis, these promoters must be stopped.

We may hate the cannabis industry, but give them credit for being some of the biggest con artists of our era — better than Big Tobacco and the opioid industry.

Have any complaints ever worked? 

Yes, a Colorado store with a mural of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street was forced to take it down after Sesame Street sued.  

Cookie Monster with pot cookies in Colorado, 2015.  A lawsuit forced the mural to be removed.

In California, a father complained the pot shops weren’t following the promise of Prop 64 not to advertise on interstate highways. He sued and won.

Editor’s Note:  Many of these signs are no longer visible, but the article is meant to alert the public of cannabis industry tactics. (Reposted with permission from PARENTS OPPOSED TO POT)


Legalise Drugs – Don’t Be Absurd!

Legalise dangerous drugs? Don’t be absurd! by Professor Neil McKeganey

IN A recent comment piece for the Telegraph, Daniel Hannan  indulges in a bit of ‘bashing the West’ when he accuses the Western economies of having caused economic and political chaos in Ecuador and other Latin American countries as a result of the ‘failed war on drugs’.

Hannan’s argument seems to be that in failing to legalise heroin and cocaine the West has handed over production and sale of these drugs to criminal gangs who in turn have destroyed the economic and political systems in these source countries. The logic here is that by not allowing legal supply of heroin in the West we have somehow encouraged others to engage in illegal drug production and supply elsewhere. This is of course rather akin to blaming householders for inconveniencing burglars by installing home security systems. The burglars’ life would be so much easier if more of us could be persuaded to leave our front doors ajar at night. 

It is true that heroin and cocaine use persists in the West in the face of the illegality of these substances but this does not mean that our efforts at drug prevention have failed or that the only viable alternative is legalisation. According to the latest prevalence estimate for Class A drug use in England and Wales around 3.3 per cent of the adult population aged 16 to 59 had used Class A drugs in the last year. That means 96.7 per cent had not. In the light of those percentages it hardly makes sense to characterise our efforts at drug prevention as a miserable failure. 

Those, like Hannan, who advocate for the legalisation of all currently illegal drugs do so on the basis that the harm these substances are associated with arises for the most part from their illegal status. The reality of course could hardly be further from that absurd proposition. These drugs are illegal precisely because they are harmful. If the UK were to pursue a policy of allowing legal access to drugs such as heroin and cocaine, what would we do in relation to the Nitazenes 9a class of synthetic opioids developed by the pharmaceutical industry in the 1950s but never approved as medicines which are increasingly associated with drug deaths in the UK and were recently identified in the Lancet as being between 50 and 500 times more dangerous than heroin? Legalise heroin and cocaine and you end up in a position where these other more harmful drugs would still need to remain illegal. 

The alternative to Hannan’s counsel of despair is not to open the door to legal drug supply but to…

For complete article


Decriminalization a Disaster in a Growing Number of Cities…

but treatment retains promise of hope.

Oregon’s bold experiment in decriminalizing possession of heroin, meth, cocaine and fentanyl — and investing marijuana tax money into expanded addiction treatment, in hopes of shifting the emphasis for users from punishment to rehabilitation — was widely heralded at the time.

The delivery vehicle, Measure 110, drew support from just under 58.5% of voters in the November 2020 general election, dwarfing the 41.5% opposition. It virtually swept the valley and coast on its way to carrying 17 of the state’s 36 counties, including rural, Republican-leaning Yamhill.

Though there may have been others, we can find record of only four newspapers in opposition, the McMinnville News-Register, Bend Bulletin, Medford Mail Tribune and Pendleton East Oregonian. The Portland media, which reached vastly more readers, were united in support.

Funding was even more lopsided, supporters raising almost $5.5 million in cash, compared to just $165,140 for opponents.

And today? Not so much.

A recent survey by DHM Research found 63% of respondents favoring the same remedial approach we do — reinstatement of criminal sanctions for possession of hard drugs, coupled with retention of the measure’s other main thrust, creation of a new state revenue stream to enhance addition recovery efforts. A separate survey by Emerson Polling pegged it at 64%.

The nub of the issue is this: Without threat of painful criminal sanctions, users have insufficient incentive to seek treatment. Evidence strongly suggests that external motivation is required in the vast majority of cases. For complete story  (

The Battle for San Francisco

San Francisco, for decades known around the world for its jazz, free love and beat poetry, has in recent years become notorious for a different reason. Tent encampments on its streets and open-air drug markets have become a reference point for the consequences of ultra-progressive policies.

Florence Read and Freddie Sayers took a film crew (and an armed security guard) into the Tenderloin district to find out the truth for themselves. This special report includes remarkable interviews with city supervisor Dean Preston and Michael Shellenberger, author of San Fransicko, as well as drug users, locals and activists across the West.

Their report dives into the ideological and practical battles at the heart of the story, and asks whether San Francisco today could be a harbinger of things to come across the Western world. (for complete story  UnHerd)

Also see

  1. The Latest Casualty of Bad Drug Policy – Harm Reduction that Isn’t!
  2. “There’s NOTHING Compassionate About Letting Someone ‘Stew’ in Their Addiction!”
  3. Second-Hand Drug Use: Beyond Toxic

Youth People promote UNODC’s Drug Use Prevention Standards…

through the modeling of Commission of Narcotic Drugs

The leaders of the “Regional Network of Youth Organizations and Youth Champions of Change in Central Asia for drug free, healthy, safe and secure societies” also made significant contribution to the event and facilitated the simulation of Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) session on drug use prevention.

During the CND, 25 participants engaged in discussions on the topic of “Drug Use Prevention among Youth in Central Asia” and collaboratively devised youth-driven solutions aimed at fostering a future free from drugs. The main reference documents for these discussions were UNODC/WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and the UNODC’s Handbook on Youth Participation in Drug Prevention Work.

Consequently, a youth-driven Resolution was presented to both UNODC and government organizations, delineating key priority areas Such as the implementation of evidence-based drug use prevention programs and advocacy for International Standards on Drug Use Prevention with policymakers.  The Resolution also emphasized the establishment of “youth-cells” in local communities, educational institutions, and government organizations, as well as empowerment of leaders and members of the “Regional Network of Youth Organizations and Youth Champions of Change in Central Asia for drug free, healthy, safe and secure societies” through enhanced knowledge and skills via cascade training and workshops.

For complete article go to United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime


Exposing the Flaws in Stirling University’s Drug Research: Drug Checking

Harm Reduction or Harm Enabling – Who is Funding this and to what end?

Stirling University’s two-year drug checking project, despite the backing of Scottish Drug policy minister Elena Whitham, reveals a troubling inadequacy in its approach. The project, which aimed to delve into drug use patterns, disappointingly managed to interview only 11 drug users. This number is shockingly low, especially considering the gravity of the drug use issue. If I were Elena, I would be questioning the value received for the funding provided.

Organisation: University of Stirling Amount Awarded: £300,082 Split over 2 years

Details of Project:  Researching and developing key components of a new Scottish drug checking programme. This two-year project (18th Nov 2020-17th Nov 2022) aims to directly address two of the six evidence-based strategies identified by the Drug Deaths Taskforce to help reduce drug related deaths: targeting people most at risk, and optimising public health surveillance.

… it’s startling to see that a study credited to 13 authors managed to engage only 11 drug users. This significant discrepancy raises questions about the study’s methodological rigor and ethical integrity. One would expect a higher degree of accountability and professional responsibility from the authors.

This study exemplifies a broader, problematic trend in the field: a tendency for mutual endorsement among like-minded professionals, creating an ‘echo chamber’ effect. This not only limits the scope of academic inquiry but also hinders the progression of the field. When research priorities shift towards promoting personal networks and careers over genuine knowledge advancement, it does a disservice to the discipline and those affected by addiction

Additionally, the creation of the Minister for Drugs Strategy position in December 2020 has not brought about the necessary changes in drug policy or outcomes. This continued trend of escalating fatalities underlines the inadequacy of the current strategy. It suggests a fundamental rethinking is required in both leadership and approach to effectively address and reverse this grave public health crisis.

For complete article


National Center on Youth: Prevention – Treatment – Recovery



Time is of the essence. Substance use disorder is preventable, treatable, and responsive to early intervention. We need to focus our efforts on creating more innovative services that can attract and engage young people sooner, as well as prevent substance use to begin with.

Second-Hand Drug Use: Beyond Toxic

Just One of the Growing Public Health Harms of Drug Decriminalization

“The signs of drug use are everywhere”, and this is on public transport. Welcome to the growing chaos and harms of liberal drug policies. Tragically, the casualties of this toxic social experiment are not just the hapless drug user, it is people in their immediate orbit of use, very much including children, and most effected, the unable to escape, Bus Drivers.

Bus driver workers’ compensation claims skyrocket as exposure to drugs increase. Subject to this day in and day out! Drivers are traumatized having to resuscitate drug users and succumbing themselves to second-hand drug use. And this is ‘good policy’?

For complete report KING 5 – Seattle