For as long as Canadian university-bound students can remember, there has been the annual Maclean’s school rankings. Top Reputation: University of Toronto; Top Medical Doctoral: McGill; Top Student Satisfaction: Bishop’s, and so on.
But now, with the Canadian government in the midst of legalizing marijuana, Maclean’s magazine has collected survey data revealing how many students per university smoke cannabis in Canada. So, which schools—and which programs—report the highest cannabis use?
Well, it looks like student satisfaction might have something to do with how often they hit the bong because in top place in this self-reported study is Bishop’s University with a whopping 60% of students smoking reefer. St. Francis Xavier University came in second, followed by Acadia University, and then Dalhousie.
And it won’t surprise most that of all the universities polled, students who majored in philosophy were the stoniest of the bunch, reporting that they used cannabis the most often—between occasionally and daily. Environmental Science came second, Economics third, and International Relations in fourth. If anyone can decipher some pattern or meaning here, please comment below.
Of the students that reported their use of marijuana, 63% said they never use cannabis, while only 2% revealed that they smoke daily.
One of the students Maclean’s talked to, a second-year Journalism student from Carlton University, named Meaghan Haldenby, said she was a regular cannabis smoker, but now only smokes occasionally with her friends. “A lot of people are picking up smoking in university because the programs are stressing them out,” she told Maclean’s. On the topic of legalization, “I think that it’s a good idea,” Haldenby said, adding that “if you want anything that could be dangerous to be safer, it’s to educate people on it, not to ban it.”
Early in the 2017 school year, Maclean’s also profiled the story of students who were using joints instead of doctor recommended melatonin to combat the stresses and sleepless nights brought on because of academic life.
But because college students fall in the under-25 demographic, who are using cannabis before the brain is fully developed, some schools are looking to ban the substance altogether.
Michael Szafron, associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Public Health, and the co-author of this study, feels that it should be banned. “If it is available that easily, what’s to stop a student who is anxious about exams from having a marijuana brownie with their Starbucks latte prior to the exam?”
But he ultimately agrees with Carlton’s Haldenby by telling Maclean’s that “We need an awareness campaign so that if people haven’t been using it, and they decide to, they go in with their eyes open.”
Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.