Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S., with approximately 19.8 million past month users in 2013 (7.5% of Americans age 12 or older).
- In 2013, annual prevalence of 36% among college students, with daily marijuana use prevalence of 5.1%. (Compared to non college segment—37% annual prevalence and 10% daily prevalence).
- Marijuana Use – USA Students
- 15.7% Report Use, Past 30 Days*
- Alcohol/Drug Survey, Office of Institutional Effectiveness, 2015
- Marijuana considered gateway drug—serving as an introduction to the drug scene.
Why is marijuana use increasing?
- Increase in availability of marijuana due to legalization in other states
- As social norms around the acceptability of marijuana change, use and abuse have gone
- NIH released a report in October of 2015 that showed from 2001/2002 to 2012/2013 past year marijuana use among adults increased from 4.1% to 9.5% nationally
- The increase in marijuana use disorder during this same time frame was almost as large
- Teens often hear about marijuana as being a natural product.
- Least expensive of all drugs, next to alcohol.
Short term effects
- Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination such as driving
- Altered motivation and cognition making acquisition of new information difficult
- Intense anxiety or panic attacks
- Decreased reaction time
- Difficulty listening and speaking
- Altered sense of time
Long term effects
- Impairments of cognitive function and neuropsychological performance (Khalsa et al., 2002)
- Increased frequency of acute bronchitis, increased incidence of pneumonia in immunocompromised patients, coughs and wheezing, may predispose to pulmonary infections (Khalsa et al., 2002)
- Reproductive system (inhibits the secretion of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland, may be acting directly on the testes and ovaries, impaired fetal growth and development)
- Psychosis and Schizophrenia-cannabis can act as a “trigger” for schizophrenia for those predisposed to the condition
- “Longitudinal investigations show a consistent association between adolescent cannabis use and psychosis” (Volkow et al., 2016, p. 294)
- “Adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse side effects of cannabis use” (Volkow et. al, 2016)
Signs of psychological dependence
- Large amounts are being consumed over a longer period than intended.
- There is a persistent desire to use cannabis.
- Efforts to reduce use are unsuccessful.
- Excessive time is spent obtaining, recovering from, under the influence of and thinking about the drug.
- Intoxication occurs, despite work or social obligations.
- Use occurs prior to or during hazardous situations, such as driving or operating machinery.
- Important and/or enjoyable activities are reduced or avoided due to use.
- Continued use despite an obvious pattern of abuse.
- Tolerance to the intoxicant effects of cannabis (i.e. using more to achieve the same, or lesser, effect).
- Symptoms of withdrawal upon abstaining (see above).
- Use to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Hiding the extent of use from friends and family.
- Regular use to avoid stress (in particular if a source of stress is cannabis related).
Cannabis amotivational syndrome
- Defined as apathy, diminished ability to focus, follow a schedule, or master new material
- Controversial concept, as too few studies to determine and not all users develop this syndrome
- Academic issues that may indicate that a person is struggling with cannabis amotivational
- Lack of follow through
- Not turning in assignments in time
- Dropping grades
- Missing class etc.
University sanctions for marijuana possession (first offense)
- Expulsion from campus housing
- Residence halls and Greek houses off limits for one year
- 15 Hours of community service
- $100 fine
- Parental notification (if <21)
- Completion of educational modules