What is marijuana?
Marijuana is the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Cannabis sativa plant. The main active chemical ingredient in marijuana is Tetrahyarocannibinol (THC). Marijuana can range from 1% to 8% THC. THC is a fat soluble substance and can remain in the fat, lungs and brain tissue for up to 3 weeks or longer depending on frequency of use.
How is marijuana used?
|Marijuana is usually smoked using a pipe, a bong or by rolling a joint or blunt. Blunts are cigars that are emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, sometimes in combination with other drugs. Marijuana can also be eaten in food, for example, by baking it into brownies.|
It is virtually impossible to die as a result of overdosing on marijuana; however, it is possible to achieve a level of intoxication that is no longer an enjoyable experience.
For a small percentage of people who use it, marijuana can be highly addictive. It is estimated that 10% to 14% of users will become heavily dependent. More than 120,000 people in the US seek treatment for marijuana addiction every year. Because the consequences of marijuana use can be subtle and insidious, it is more difficult to recognize signs of addiction. Cultural and societal beliefs that marijuana cannot be addictive make it less likely for people to seek help or to get support for quitting.
More and more studies are finding that marijuana has addictive properties. Both animal and human studies show physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from marijuana including irritability, restlessness, insomnia, nausea and intense dreams. Tolerance to marijuana also builds up rapidly. Heavy users need 8 times higher doses to get the same effects as infrequent users.
Some warning signs are:
Because THC is fat soluble and remains in the body for up to 3 weeks, it's important to remember that withdrawal symptoms might not be felt immediately.
Why do people use marijuana?
Smoking marijuana can relax a person and elevate their mood. This can be followed by drowsiness and sedation. Other effects include heightened sensory awareness, euphoria, altered perceptions and feeling hungry ("the munchies"). Higher concentrations of THC may produce a more hallucinogenic response.
- Impaired memory and ability to learn
- Difficulty thinking and problem solving
- Anxiety attacks or feelings of paranoia
- Impaired muscle coordination and judgment
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Dangerous impairment of motor (driving) skills. Studies show that it impairs braking time, attention to traffic signals and other driving behaviors.
- Cardiac problems for people with heart disease or high blood pressure, because marijuana increases the heart rate
Are there long-term consequences to smoking marijuana?
Yes. Long-term consequences to smoking marijuana include respiratory problems, difficulties with memory and learning, and fertility issues.
Someone who smokes marijuana regularly can have many of the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. Persistent coughing, symptoms of bronchitis and more frequent chest colds are possible symptoms. There are over 400 chemicals that have been found in marijuana smoke. One of the 400 chemicals in marijuana smoke is benzyprene, which is a known human carcinogen (agents that are shown to cause cancer). Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide are 3 to 5 times higher than in cigarette smoke. This is most likely due to inhaling marijuana more deeply, holding the smoke in the lungs and because marijuana smoke is unfiltered.
Memory and learning
Recent research shows that regular marijuana use compromises the ability to learn and to remember information by impairing the ability to focus, sustain, and shift attention. One study also found that long-term use reduces the ability to organize and integrate complex information.
In addition, marijuana impairs short-term memory and decreases motivation to accomplish tasks, even after the high is over. In one study, even small doses impaired the ability to recall words from a list seen 20 minutes earlier.
Long-term marijuana use suppresses the production of hormones that help regulate the reproductive system. For men, this can cause decreased sperm counts and very heavy users can experience erectile dysfunction. Women may experience irregular periods from heavy marijuana use.
Yes, marijuana is illegal and its possession, use, and sale can carry fines and disciplinary consequences at Sacramento State. The Sacramento State Alcoholic Beverage and Drug Policy states that: Except as expressly permitted by law or University regulations the use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of illegal drugs or drug-related paraphernalia, or the misuse of legal pharmaceutical drugs is prohibited.
Marijuana's ability to enhance appetite has led to its medical use to reduce the physical wasting caused by AIDS and to reduce nausea for chemotherapy patients. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, 11 states have laws that allow patients to use medical marijuana despite the prohibition by federal law.
Although Sacramento State follows California State laws, the campus also follows federal laws regarding medicinal marijuana. Federal law prohibits the use of medical marijuana and therefore Sacramento State prohibits the use of medicinal marijuana on campus.