Written by: Libby Thoma | Freelance Writer
Everyone has heard of the negatives of marijuana use, especially those of us who are in college. In 2020, college student’s marijuana use escalated so much that one in 12 college students used marijuana daily, and this statistic continues to rise. Therefore, if there are so many known negative effects of marijuana, why do so many people use it and rely on it, given that marijuana isn’t technically addictive? The students of Western should be aware, not only of the negative effects of marijuana, but also the positive effects that many know exist.
The effects of marajuana, particularly on students who are attending college, are overwhelmingly negative. There are three main ways it has been proven to affect students, mainly occurring during marijuana use and for up to 24 hours after use while the drug is wearing off.
Attention is the first ability to be affected, which is necessary for understanding topics in class, understanding and finishing homework. The second of these effects is memory. College students are very aware of how important memory is for learning and achieving good grades. Memory isn’t just crucial for memorization for tests, but for making connections between the course material, building upon subjects and remembering what was learned throughout class. Finally, articles state ‘learning’ as another detriment of smoking weed while being a college student. This seems to mean overall learning through slower processing speed.
Now, onto the positive effects of marijuana use. Positive effects from marijuana mostly stem from helping specific health issues. These specific health issues include; epilepsy, cancer and the negative effects from chemo, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, mental health problems, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep issues —specifically insomnia, eating disorders and so many more.
A common misconception is “marijuana is impossible to be addicted to.” This is purely untrue. As anything can be addictive, such as food, caffeine and so much more, it is safe to say that an actual drug can be addictive. Though the addiction is different from that of a typical drug, it is considered a ‘use disorder.’ A person won’t experience withdrawals, but one will experience ‘dependence’ to marijuana — this is when a person goes without the substance and experiences symptoms such as irritability, sleeping difficulties, a decrease in appetite and more — much like when a person quits nicotine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that about 9% of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it.
Once a college student reaches the age of 25, these negative effects, and negative long-term effects not spoken about in this article, lessen.
In the end, marijuana use without a need for it from other health effects will likely result in the outweighing of negative effects over positive effects for a college student. If marijuana is a necessity for health, the positives effects of it will outweigh the negatives. If there is not a need for marijuana, rather used recreationally, the negative effects will then outweigh the positives. To do well in a college career, one should steer away from recreational use, at least not using it as often or using it before one needs to do anything learning related.
The best plan of action would be to consult a doctor and get assessed for the need for medical marijuana. It is understandable that some people do not have access to medical care, and if this is the case and one can not gain access to medical marijuana, then one should honestly evaluate whether they need it, but either way, one should be using as little as possible for needed reasons and be prepared to dedicate more time to ones learning.
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