Marijuana has been a controversial topic over the last couple years with it now being legalized in 25 states for legal medical use and 4 states for just recreation use. Living in East residence halls, I get a lot of complaints about smelling marijuana which results in calling the police right away. Then I get to thinking why are these students smoking marijuana in the residence hall? Maybe it is a stress reliever and can actually calm down a student. My next underlying question is, are people smoking marijuana to get high or for the medical benefits? This question is two sided which leaves the answer being one people smoke to get high or two people smoke for medical reasons.
What are the components of Marijuana?
To start off with, Tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are two completely different things when talking about them in relation to marijuana. THC is the one that will make you get the feeling of being high that affects your brain. CBD is the one used for medical reasons and it is the one that doesn’t have the affect of making someone feel high. CBD helps battle depression, epilepsy, and so much more. This is the part where people start getting worried about legalizing marijuana. CBD is specifically to help people who are going through significant health problems.
Picture found here.
Marijuana’s Cognitive Effects on College Students
A study was done on the residual cognitive effects of heavy marijuana use in college students. It was a single blind experiment which looked at frequent users of marijuana versus infrequent users of marijuana. Two samples of undergraduate college students were represented in this study; 65 heavy users who had smoked 22-30 days out of all 30 days and who showed cannabinoids in their urine versus 64 users who had smoked 0-9 days out of all 30 days and showed no cannabinoids in their urine. Cannabinoids are the reason that people get the high feeling after smoking marijuana or the pain relief feeling. The participants took part in a series of tests looking at attention span, verbal skills, and more. This is how the researchers measured for the primary results. The results of this study was that more frequent users of marijuana had more damage than non frequent or light users.
The study design used was very effective when testing frequent users versus infrequent users. In a single blind study the participants are unaware of what the purpose of the study was. If the users were aware of what was going on I feel as though the results would have been altered. In class, Andrew discussed the concept of reverse causation which is when x causes y and y causes x. Looking at the question I proposed, I feel like reverse causation could be a definite answer when taking all the facts into consideration because college students could smoke marijuana to relieve stress or they are stressed out so they smoke marijuana. Another possible answer is confounding variables such as sleep activity, not eating enough and/or stress.
This image shows how infrequent users are better off than frequent users when coming to living situations.
Take home message:
I personally believe that if a person needs to smoke marijuana for medical benefits then go right ahead, I support that 110%. If that is the only medication that can relieve whatever illness they are going through, then why stop them? Everyone deserves relief from something they feel is taking over their life in a negative way. On the other hand I am not quite convinced that marijuana should be legalized for safety reasons. Such as, driving after smoking marijuana. I also can see how that can be compared to driving while under the influence of alcohol. The next step I would take on getting a specific answer is conducting a survey for college students that would allow me to dig deeper in why students smoke marijuana.