Marijuana use in the nation is on the rise: 17.4 million Americans were recorded using marijuana in 2010, up from 14.4 million users in 2007.
What is more shocking is that the rise in numbers is all thanks to college-aged users.
According to a study held by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, the percentage of college students who smoke jumped from 19.5 percent to 21.5 percent in only two years.
Every day, the number of college students engaging in marijuana consumption grows.
The problem with this? Marijuana, otherwise known as pot or weed, affects all aspects of a person’s life. Substance abuse leads to problems with schoolwork and health, and could eventually lead to changes in personality and an increase in risky, out-of-character behavior.
The main “ingredient” in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). When weed is smoked, THC activates the receptors in the brain, which trigger the drug’s effect; mainly releasing dopamine into the system, which causes the “relaxing” side effect of marijuana.
Other side effects include uneasiness, anxiety and restlessness, coupled with paranoia and forgetfulness.
One of the most common side effects of marijuana is memory loss.
Students throughout the UNH campus, for example, have reported noticing slight memory problems. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, noted that after years of marijuana use, the drug “messed up [his] memory a little bit.”
Students who smoke pot are less likely to spend time studying and concentrating on classes, and have been found to have difficulty concentrating, recalling facts and making good decisions.
The numbers are rising; there is no doubt about that. But why do so many students use marijuana if they are aware of the side effects and know that it is illegal?
“It’s relaxing,” a number of students replied with. “Classes are stressful, and weed helps me relax.”
Most students at UNH see no problem with marijuana usage. “It’s just a way to have fun.”
However, here at the University of New Haven, marijuana abuse is not a serious problem.
“Considering the amount of students here on campus, the ratio of kids caught smoking is surprisingly low,” Officer Crawford said.
However, if you are caught, the stakes are high. Students who get caught smoking are referred to the Dean’s office.
Students caught selling or growing the weed? You will be expelled, arrested and will have to go to court.