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By Lie Ling Jauw
Regular marijuana use for just once a week can affect brain function which leads to poor school performance, mental illness, learning difficulties, and impaired memory, and according to a recent study, could affect eyesight as well.
Marijuana is the most commonly used substance abuse among adolescents, young adults, and college students. The product comes from the plant Cannabis sativa, a mixture of dried flowers, stems, and leaves. The main psychoactive chemical compound in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Medical marijuana is a schedule III drug which has some therapeutic effects with different method of administration such as sprays, transdermal patches and oils. Street marijuana, however, is schedule I drug that is highly addictive and has no medical use in United States.
The most common ingestion of this illegal drug is by smoking and inhaling. The onset of effects is approximately 10 minutes and tolerance is developed quickly. The usage of street marijuana influences physical, psychological, and emotional health. The main effects of cannabis use are hallucination, relaxation, euphoria effect, sense of wellness, and increase of senses in audio, visual, smell, taste, and also hearing. However, its stimulation depends on the dosage, frequency, and concentration.
This illicit drug is more hazardous for young adults especially because of their still-developing brain and its vulnerability to the effects of drugs. The short term psychotic effect of this drug is euphoria, hallucination, paranoia, however this could be a long term.
THC affects neurotransmitters in the body that influence mood, motivation, memory, appetite, pain and pleasure. It also distorts the user’s perception of reality.
Regular use of marijuana leads to addiction and in extreme cases to behavioral and mental problem such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, and anxiety. These symptoms are most damaging to adolescent marijuana users. The risks are greater if the user has a family history of schizophrenia and other mental illness.
Furthermore, addiction to cannabis often results in a negative impact on school performance due to learning difficulties and lack of motivation. Withdrawal for smokers who quit can last from two days to six weeks. The symptoms include headache, fatigue, slow thinking and communicating, difficulties in sleeping, and many more.
Students who may be experiencing difficulty with marijuana use can seek assistance at the college’s counseling center at 1G03.