There is a lot of hype around substance use on college campuses. Alcohol and marijuana are the top two substances of choice among college students, with almost 50% of college students (18-22 years old) reporting drinking alcohol in the past month and 39% reporting marijuana use. While yes, you are doing your brain a favor by not drinking alcohol and marijuana, the reality is that, at some point, you may end up trying either alcohol, marijuana, or both. What do you need to know to make safe decisions? You need to know the facts!
What you need to know:
- About 25% of college students who drink alcohol report academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.
- Binge drinking – if you are female, this is 4 or more alcoholic drinks in one day (see the image for what a standard drink is – you are probably drinking more than you realize!), or 5 if you are male. Binge drinking has a higher risk for both academic consequences and physical harm (such as driving while intoxicated) and is harder on your body.
- Marijuana use may be increasing due to legalization. We know that the brain is still developing in the early 20s and there has been evidence that marijuana use may impact your mental health and your cognitive functioning (such as your ability to think, process, and remember).
- The use of both alcohol and marijuana at the same time can be even more detrimental – research has shown that marijuana use is associated with even more alcohol-related consequences.
Taking a moment to pause and consider how going to happy hour, having a night out with friends, or smoking before/after class can impact your life in the present and in the future can potentially help you live a happier and more successful life. If you’re struggling with your alcohol or marijuana use, reach out to someone or text the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741).