Why is this important to college students?

Marijuana is a drug that has become quite popular in the United States. Though in most states it is illegal, marijuana is one of the most practiced drugs there is. Going to College, a lot of students are unaware of the way marijuana can effect their brains for positive and negative reasons. College is a time where students like to experience new things, and marijuana is a drug that students commonly can come in contact with. It is important for college students to know the facts before they experiment with marijuana.

Outline.

  • Short-term effects of using marijuana
  • Long-term effects of using marijuana
  • How marijuana effects the different parts of the brain
  • Positive effects of using marijuana
  • How marijuana can affect college students

Short-Term Effects of Using Marijuana

The effects of marijuana in the short term sense has a lot to do with the amount of marijuana that goes into your system. When you take marijuana in at low doses, the side effects can include poor coordination, altered sense of time of space, food cravings, and/or dangerous driving behavior. Those are just some of the side effects that come with marijuana being in your system at low doses. There are also the side effects that I feel would impact a college student more than the other side effects. These side effects include poor memory and ability to learn, difficulty in thinking and solving problems, and/or short attention span. The traits above are characteristic in which most students try to avoid when attending classes. A student who were to intake a small dose of marijuana before class would find themselves have much difficulty keeping up with the lectures and assignments that come with the class.(2)
A large intake of marijuana would have added short term effects on someone. These added effects on a person would include hallucinations, delusions, poor memory, not knowing where one is, anxiety or feelings of paranoia, and/or depression.
The physical effects of short term marijuana use includes rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased rate of breathing, red eyes, dry mouth, and slow reaction time. These effects on the body start to reduce three to four hour after in taking the marijuana. There can be a lingering effect of these side effects that last for weeks after using marijuana. (1)
external image brain2.102174916_std.jpg(5)

Long-Term Effects of Using Marijuana

Long term effects of marijuana result in how often you use marijuana. People who have smoked it once or twice are not very likely to have long term effects. Long term effects are usually associated with marijuana users who smoke regularly.
Using marijuana frequently will start to affect one’s immune system. The THC found in marijuana damages the cells in tissue that our body has. This could lead to our immune systems not being able to fight off diseases. Frequent marijuana use also is considered to increase your chance of getting lung cancer, because the chemicals in marijuana reduce the ability to fight lung infections in the user’s lungs.(2)
Fertility can be greatly affected by marijuana use. In men, using marijuana will lower testosterone which leads to lower sperm count and higher possibility of having erectile dysfunction. In women, frequent marijuana use can have result in irregular periods. Using marijuana for women who are pregnant can lead to birth defects. Though marijuana can hurt the chances of fertility, it cannot completely lead to someone being infertile.
Heavy marijuana users can also see impacts of smoking on their lungs. It can lead to them to have breathing problems that result in frequent coughing and wheezing. Marijuana is also thought to have impacts on memory and learning ability.
Heavy marijuana users can also grow to have psychological addiction. One in twelve people who use marijuana find that they have feelings of withdrawal if they are not able to get high from marijuana when they want to. Rates of this are higher the more frequent the marijuana user. Marijuana is also thought to be a gateway drug. Some researchers believe that using marijuana can lead to experimentation with other drugs such as ecstasy and heroine.(1)

Marijuana's Effects to the Brain

Marijuana comes into the body most commonly through smoking it; however it can also be ingested or drank. When smoked, the THC enters in through the lungs, and then travels through the bloodstream into the brain and the rest of the body. When marijuana enters the body, as the THC enters the brain it acts on the brain’s reward system. This reward system governs the things that are pleasurable, such as love or chocolate. The THC in the marijuana stimulates the brain by releasing cells that release the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for transmitting signals through the nerve cells of the brain. This is what gives us the feeling of euphoria, or being high.(4)
Marijuana affects of marijuana use can also include heightened sensory perception, laughter, altered perception of time, and increased appetite. These side effects are due to the way in which the brain is affected by the euphoria feeling.
Marijuana use also has the ability to affect a user’s short term memory. This is because the THC in marijuana effects how information is processed in hippocampus. Marijuana use also can alter coordination and balance. This is because as the THC is in our brain binds the receptors in our cerebellum and basal ganglia. These are the parts of the brain that are responsible for balance, coordination, posture, and reaction time.
Marijuana users who use a large quantity of marijuana in a short time frame experience acute psychosis. Acute psychosis causes someone to have hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the one’s identity. This is caused by the THC entering the brain in high concentrations.
There has been no information regarding long-term damage to the brain by using marijuana. There are a lot of varying opinions from researchers that range from people think long-term marijuana use can affect cognitive live skills and people thinking that there is no damage to the brain whatsoever.
Here is video that further explains what THC does to the brain

external image cannabis-brain.jpg
Here is photo of what the brain looks like when someone is under the influence of marijuana.

Positive Effects of Marijuana

Some researchers and people feel that there are benefits to using marijuana. They believe that people find a state of relaxation when using marijuana. Also that there is a heightened sense of appreciation for art and music, because you perception is more open to the creativity.
Marijuana has also been used to help cancer patients during times of chemotherapy because the THC helps to deal with extreme nausea and vomiting. It is also used to treat pain for cancer patients. (8)
Here is a video saying that their are situations where marijuana could be good for you.
(9)

How Marijuana Can Affect College Students

Smoking marijuana has been found by some researcher to contribute to lower academic performance. Compared with students who do not use marijuana, those who do have been found to be more likely to get lower grades and have a higher chance of dropping out of school.(6)
The University Of Maryland School Of Public Health did a study to test the theory on if marijuana use hinders students’ academic performances. They followed around 1,200 freshmen over a 10-year period and found the students who reported ever using substances, especially marijuana, were more consistent to skip class, spend less time studying, earn lower grades, drop out of college, and become unemployed. When they did the study they broke down students into three different categories being minimal marijuana users, those who smoke a handful of times (1-2 a month), and those students who are frequent marijuana users (15 times a month). The results of the study showed, even after taking into account demographics, academic performance in high school, and personality traits, that the frequent marijuana users were twice more likely to fall behind and drop out of school than the kids who fell into the minimal category. Even the kids who fell into the category of kids who smoke 1-2 times a month were 66% more likely to fall behind or drop out of school.
There are social issues with smoking marijuana as well. A study from the Mental Health Administration showed that the amount of adults aged 18-25 saw the use of marijuana is on the rise. There was about a 2% increase in the number of adults this age who were using marijuana. This shows that marijuana is something that is slowly becoming more sociable acceptable. While that may be so, according to law as of 2013 there are only twenty-one states that marijuana is legal in. Even in those states, it is only legal for medical uses, and there are regulations on how much you can have a time. Federal laws state that a first time offensive of getting caught with marijuana would be a misdemeanor that would incarcerate someone for a year and be fined a thousand dollars. Second possession would lead to incarcerate someone for 15 days and find them to two thousand and fifty dollars. A third offense would incarcerate someone 90 days to three years they would have a max fine of five thousand dollars.(7)

Bibliography

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  2. "Short and Long Term Effects." Of Marijuana. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
  3. "Marijuana - Marijuana Use and Effects of Marijuana." WebMD. Trans. Joseph Goldberg, MD. WebMD, 02 Mar. 0001. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
  4. "Marijuana Abuse." How Does Marijuana Use Affect Your Brain and Body? Ed. Nora Volkow, MD. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
  5. "Google Images." Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013
  6. Truong, Debbie. "Marijuana Usage Grows Higher | USA TODAY College." Marijuana Usage Grows Higher | USA TODAY College. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
  7. "NORML.org - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws." FEDERAL Laws & Penalties. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
  8. "The Benefits Of Marijuana." AskMen. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013
  9. "Marijuana Good For You?" YouTube. YouTube, 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2013