Maclean’s ranks universities by marijuana use

As the government is in the midst of legalizing marijuana, Maclean’s magazine has released a survey revealing how many students per university smoke cannabis in Canada.

The self-reported study shows that students at Bishop’s University have the highest marijuana usage with 60 per cent of students reporting that they smoke.

Maclean’s also categorized the survey by program of study which found that students in philosophy smoke the most.

Fifty-seven per cent of philosophy students said they use cannabis occasionally to everyday.

However, out of all the students that reported their use of marijuana, 63 per cent said they never smoke, while only two per cent revealed that they smoke daily.

Carleton University ranked 11th out of 49 universities. Forty-three per cent of the students who took part in the survey said they’re marijuana users.

Meaghan Haldenby, a second-year Carleton journalism and human rights student, said she was a regular cannabis smoker, but now only smokes monthly or when she’s spending time with her friends.

“When we say we’re smoking to deal with our stress, smoking actually increases anxiety,” Haldenby said.

However, she said that the problem all starts with the stress associated with school.

“I think one issue that schools have is that they’re banning [smoking marijuana]for a better environment,” she said, “but the truth is, a lot of people are picking up smoking in university because the programs are stressing them out.”

In response to the impending implementation of marijuana legalization, Haldenby said, “I think that it’s a good idea”, also adding that “if you want anything that could be dangerous to be safer, it’s to educate people on it, not to ban it.”

Andrea Howard is a Carleton University assistant professor of psychology who specializes in the connection between mental health and substance abuse in adolescents.

“In terms of academic performance, generally, marijuana is cognitively impairing,” Howard said. “So, if you were smoking or consuming cannabis in whatever form shortly before a test or assignment . . . it could be problematic.”

Howard also talked about the legalization of marijuana and how universities should deal with this new development in Canada.

“I think the universities will need to start developing informational intervention or prevention campaigns, similar to what they do for alcohol right now.”

She added that “there’s a lot of detailed information for students to consult about how to protect yourself in a drinking situation, but marijuana less so because you can’t legally smoke marijuana.”

According to Government of Canada, marijuana is expected to be legal in time for Canada Day, on July 1, 2018.

Graphic by Mariam Abdel-Akher