Marijuana: What we know2 min read

Mary Sullivan, GUEST COLUMNIST

28 states have legalized marijuana for medical uses, and eight – including California, have legalized it for recreational use. Due to bureaucratic restrictions, there is limited research about marijuana and its chemical cousins, cannabinoids. While the lack of scientific research can pose a public health risk to uninformed users, there is some data about many aspects of marijuana use.

Marijuana:

  • Raises the risk of developing schizophrenia and other causes of psychosis.
  • Raises the risk of developing depressive disorders.
  • Evidence links pot smoking to increased respiratory problems and more frequent chronic bronchitis.
  • Can impair judgement, alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time, especially when driving.
  • Is harmful to the developing brain

Like consuming alcohol, consuming marijuana is a choice with risks. In Health Services, we focus on harm reduction.

Marijuana can have unpredictable effects – panic attacks, anxiety, paranoia. Learn what to do when that happens. If someone is physically sick, pale, sweaty, dizzy or nauseous, take them to a quiet place with fresh air. Have them sit in a comfortable position, offer them sips of water or something sweet (juice, clear soda) and continue to monitor them. Try to be calm and reassure them.

If feelings persist or get worse, or you are in any doubt, call 911. The Good Samaritan Law gives immunity from criminal charges of drug possession if you seek medical help in the case of a drug-related overdose.

Here at De Anza, it’s a violation of our student code of conduct (and a federal offense) to possess any amount of marijuana. First offense is a warning, but subsequent incidents result in a discipline hearing board and probation, suspension and/or expulsion. No possession of any drugs or alcohol is allowed, even when stored in your car.

Marijuana use is permitted 1,000 feet from the school. De Anza’s 2016 National College Health Assessment Survey data show 72 percent of students perceive everyone. 2.4 percent of students use marijuana, while 71 percent have never used.

Marijuana stays in your fat cells 45 days after use. Job applications often require urine drug testing to be completed within 3 days. If you consumed marijuana in the previous 45 days, you’d be out of a job.

Be informed. Student Health Services is here to help and keep you informed. Don’t forget to have a designated driver who hasn’t used weed!

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