Mairjuana - Smart Use
Marijuana and You
Some people believe that marijuana is harmless, natural and safe to use. While it may cause less obvious problems than alcohol does, it can still have negative consequences. It’s important that if you choose to use pot, you learn how to do so safely to avoid getting hurt, getting in trouble, doing things you might regret and messing up your health and well-being. Here are some tips and information to make your marijuana use safer
- Pot affects people differently depending on their size, tolerance, how much they’ve eaten that day, physical condition, medications being taken, strength of the pot, and method and quantity of pot consumed.
- Marijuana can cause dry mouth, dry eyes, increased heart rate and visible signs of intoxication such as bloodshot eyes and puffy eyelids. Other problems include impairment of learning and memory, muscle incoordination, apathy, nausea, trouble solving problems, impaired immune system, chronic cough and exacerbation of asthma or other lung conditions.
- While some people may believe that they can drive fine or even “better” when stoned, research shows that people’s driving skills are impaired after pot use. Driving after using marijuana can result in accidents, tickets and legal trouble.
- Although no reported deaths from marijuana overdose have been reported, serious side effects can result from use, including paranoia, psychotic symptoms (e.g., hearing voices, seeing things that others can’t see) and heart problems in people with heart disease or high blood pressure. In some cases, psychosis can be permanent in susceptible individuals.
- People who use pot regularly may prevent themselves from learning other ways to cope with life’s problems and difficult emotions and may be less mature in relationships because they aren’t learning those skills. They also may allow bad situations to continue because the pot makes them apathetic or allows them to “feel OK” when things may not be OK.
- People can become physically and psychologically dependent on pot.
- Remember that even if you have a medical marijuana (215) card, the possession and use of pot is prohibited on campus, so you could get in trouble.
- Pot in its current state is no longer “natural,” as it has been bred over time to be many times stronger than naturally occurring cannabis. Also know that marijuana is sometimes laced with other drugs. Don’t buy pot from someone you don’t know, or you could end up consuming a drug or contaminant you didn’t count on. Seek medical help if you have a sudden and/or unexpected reaction to pot, such as severe heart palpitations or extreme paranoia.
- Limit your marijuana use to times when you don’t have to drive, study, take an exam or fulfill other responsibilities.
- Moderate your use so that it’s not every day, and avoid smoking large quantities of pot throughout the day.
- Avoid mixing pot with other drugs or large quantities of alcohol—you may have a severe, unpleasant reaction or even a dangerous side effect; for example, when you’ve had too much to drink, pot can dampen your body’s natural protective vomiting mechanism.
- If you have lung problems, such as asthma, consider quitting the use of pot, or use edible pot products or a vaporizer, rather than smoking.
- Be careful when using edible pot products—it’s hard to gauge how much pot you are ingesting and its strength, so the effects can be uncomfortably strong, unpredictable and long-lasting.
- Wipe any shared pipes, vaporizer nozzles or bongs with alcohol swabs between uses to avoid catching colds and other illnesses from other users.
Warning Signs that You May Have a Problem
- Increased use of pot
- Needing more and more to get the same effect
- Ignoring responsibilities because of time spent obtaining or using pot or lack of motivation to do the important things in your life (e.g., skipping class, failing exams)
- Having the goal of getting completely obliterated when you smoke
- Using pot in isolation and shutting people out
- Dropping friends who don’t use pot and/or associating only with people who use pot
- Spending more money than you have on pot
- Finding it’s hard to be happy or feel OK without pot
- Thinking about pot all the time
- Trying to quit or cut back but being unable to do so
- Needing to smoke in the morning to “get going”
- People expressing concern or annoyance about your pot use
- Continuing to smoke despite serious consequences (e.g., failing classes, legal problems)
For more information about marijuana, visit the SHOP’s Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs website