Mariuana on college campus
Marijuana can be found on every college campus in the United States and is the drug of choice coming in right behind alcohol. Harvard School of public health conducted a survey over the last eleven years and found that marijuana use in college has gone from 26.4 % in 1989-1991 to 33.6% in 2000 (http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/prev-updates/marijuana.html). According to a similar study, the majority of students on college campuses that use marijuana will also participate in other high risk activities. This destructive behavior includes things such as cigarette smoking, binge drinking and sex while intoxicated. Marijuana is so easy to obtain and can be very tempting to experiment with, especially if you have already had a few drinks and your thinking is impaired.
Marijuana prices have a major effect on the amount of use by college students at any given point in time. Although it may be more socially available on college campuses, the price still determines the usage. The fact that marijuana is illegal in the United States helps to keep the price at a seemingly higher level. This artificial price illusion regulates the buying, selling and usage among college students. Compared to alcohol, marijuana is much more accessible, especially on college campuses. Getting alcohol requires an ID or someone with an ID. Getting marijuana only requires someone that supplies the drug. So even though it is illegal, marijuana is seemingly more common.
Since possession of marijuana is illegal, it is not surprising that the consequences can be so debilitating. While attending college with federal financial aid, you run the risk of jeopardizing your federal aid by being charged with a misdemeanor. Possession of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor and if you are charged, the federal government has the right to take away any government aid that you were granted. So not only do you have a record for possession, but more than likely you are going through the judicial system of the college or university and may be suspended or expelled.
Marijuana use can also lead to academic problems. Students that participate in these behaviors have a tendency to spend more time socializing than concentrating on what they should be, their academics. These students spend more time partying than studying which greatly affects their academic performance. Two of the physical effects of marijuana that directly affect academics are difficulty in problem solving and poor memory. Students may become less and less motivated to be involved in campus activities, and also may become decreasingly concerned with their long-term goals and career plans. Users may have a hard time limiting their use and may build a tolerance to the drug. This tolerance means that the user now requires a larger amount of the drug to get the same effect, and may develop problems with their jobs and personal relationships because the drug becomes such a major part of his or her life.
Many students see marijuana as a recreational drug. With increased recreational use, the drug can become addictive. It is not so much an addiction, but a psychological dependence for smoking, and that feeling of intoxication. However, besides being illegal, marijuana may contain unknown contaminants that can severely harm you. With all of the risks of the drug, it is amazing that people still use it recreationally. It is common for students to first experiment with their peers, whether it be a friend, sibling or just an acquaintance. The peer pressure is the most likely cause of first time users.
Physical effects of marijuana differ according to the type used, the way in which it is taken, the setting in which it is used, the expectations of the user, and whether or not it is used in conjunction with other drugs (http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/prev-updates/marijuana.html). Users often have chronic bronchitis and increased chances of getting lung cancer. Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. Marijuana also affects the brain, researchers say that THC changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippocampus.
The immediate effects of marijuana other than a feeling of intoxication are: bloodshot eyes, anxiety, confusion and paranoia, loss of coordination, and increased appetite. Mental effects show that the drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to do things which require concentration and coordination.
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