October 20, 2016

As the state prepares to vote on marijuana legalization this fall, the Vermont Department of Health invited Dr. Amelia Arria, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the UMD School of Public Health, to present her research on college students and marijuana use at the statewide symposium on alcohol, cannabis and other drugs.

The subject of the Fifth Annual College Symposium, held on October 14, 2016 at Lyndon State College, was cannabis use on campus. Dr. Arria and other researchers discussed the culture of marijuana use among college students, as well as the latest research. 

Dr. Arria, an associate professor in the Department of Behavioral & Community Health at the UMD SPH and the principal investigator on the longitudinal College Life Study, is one of few experts focused on studying and understanding the risk and resilience factors associated with mental health and substance use among youth. Unlike other studies that have examined substance use, the College Life Study focuses on understanding behavior over time – specifically, how these behaviors begin and how they ultimately influence students' academic achievement and overall health.

Among other findings, Dr. Arria's research has shown that even occasional and limited marijuana use during college may have negative effects on a student’s long-term physical and mental health. Many studies have linked marijuana use to health outcomes in young people, but more research such as Dr. Arria's is needed to assess the long-term effects of college-age marijuana use.

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Health Department Focuses on College Cannabis Use
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Amelia Arria