Cannabis, weed, pot, herb, ganja, reefer, Mary Jane, the chronic
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug among college students (and professors, too). Marijuana can be smoked or eaten. It can also be ingested in a concentrated form, as hashish or hash oil.
It can be argued that pot smoking is almost as ingrained in campus culture as alcohol use. Marijuana-law reform has long been one of the hot issues on college campuses. Many students have organized rallies to support legalizing the drug and to counter what they feel is propaganda and misinformation being spread by the War on Drugs movement.
Ten Things You Need To Know About Marijuana
- THC makes you feel good. The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It binds to receptors in the body, causing relaxation, euphoria, altered sensory perception, fatigue and an increased appetite.
- Today’s weed is stronger than ever. In the past 30 years, the THC content in some strains of marijuana has increased exponentially. In 1974, the average THC content was around 1 percent. Today, some (but certainly not all) marijuana has a THC content of between 4 and 6 percent.
- Students like pot. It’s estimated that 10.6 percent of all American teens and adults have used marijuana in the past year. Among the college student population, the number is closer to 30 percent.
- It can make you lazy. There is some evidence to suggest that even limited marijuana use produces an amotivational effect in some users. It makes them less likely to do things that need to be done but that are unpleasant to do (e.g., writing a term paper in a subject of little interest).
- It can make you forgetful. Regular users perform worse on memory tasks than non-users, though the difference is relatively small.
- It can make you seriously paranoid. Marijuana users are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than non-users.
- It can make you crash your car. Some studies have shown that marijuana has a significant detrimental effect on a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
- Getting baked before class is a bad idea. If you learn something when you’re high, you’ll have a harder time recalling it when you’re sober than when you get high again. Thus, it’s a good idea to always take lecture notes and study for tests when you’re completely sober.
- You probably can’t O.D., even if you try. There is no conclusive evidence that anyone has ever overdosed on marijuana. In tests, animals have demonstrated an ability to tolerate doses that are 5,000 times more than is needed to produce a high. This would equate to nearly 2 ounces of marijuana for a fully-grown human (though it should be noted that toxicity in animals doesn’t always to correspond exactly to that in humans).
- It probably won’t drive you towards using heroin. The evidence supporting the notion that marijuana is a “gateway drug” is tenuous at best.
Everything in Moderation
Unlike many other drugs, moderate marijuana use in college doesn’t have a significantly long-term negative effect on the lives of most people (if it did, millions of students from the 1960s would be facing serious consequences at this point). However, marijuana use should still be approached with caution and the knowledge that, as with any other drug, it can be habit-forming and detrimental to one’s physical and mental health.
Some students can smoke a joint a day, get straight A’s and serve as president of the student government. Others smoke a joint a day and miss due dates, sleep through their final exams and get kicked out of school. If you choose to smoke, make sure that you find a balance that fits your life. It sounds lame, but it’s a good policy to always put school before pot. Don’t light up until your homework is done. That way, you can have the best of both worlds (good grades and good times).