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Did you know that most UNH students (76.8%) choose not to use marijuana? This is interesting especially when the same students surveyed reported that they believe most UNH students smoked (91.3%). Why? Often people misperceive how much a substance is being used, maybe because their friends use, or maybe just because it seems like everyone on campus is drinking and smoking, so it seems believable.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT MARIJUANA?
Myth. Everyone smokes when in college.
Most never use marijuana and of those who do use, few smoke on a weekly basis.
Myth. Marijuana is not addictive.
Marijuana follows the same pathways of addition in the brain as other drugs. Signs of physical/psychological dependence?
- A growing interest to smoke more often.
- The use of marijuana, or thoughts of using, replaces other things that used to interest the person, including but not limited to: hobbies, sports, working out, class work, clubs or organizations, friends (especially those who don’t smoke).
- Less interest in doing activities sober, or not high.
- Increase in tolerance, needing more marijuana than before to feel the effects. Putting self in danger (legal or physical) or dangerous situations to smoke.
Concerned that you, or someone you care about may have a problem?
- Has smoking pot stopped being fun?
- Do you ever get high alone?
- Is it hard for you to imagine a life without marijuana?
- Do you find that your friends are determined by your marijuana use?
- Do you smoke marijuana to avoid dealing with your problems?
- Do you smoke pot to cope with your feelings?
- Does your marijuana use let you live in a privately defined world?
- Have you ever failed to keep promises you made about cutting down or controlling your dope smoking?
- Has your use of marijuana caused problems with memory, concentration, or motivation?
- When your stash is nearly empty, do you feel anxious or worried about how to get more?
- Do you plan your life around your marijuana use?
- Have friends or relatives ever complained that your pot smoking is damaging your relationship with them?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may have a problem with marijuana.
People are more likely to experience a problem when smoking marijuana on a weekly basis or more often.
Most people who smoke daily experience some psychological and/or physical addiction which can be witnessed by withdrawal signs when not smoking.
People can experience some or all of these signs if they are physically addicted to marijuana and have stopped using.
- Insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Nightmares, vivid dreams (very real, colorful, etc.)
- Dreams about using marijuana
- Irritability and anger
- Occasionally emotional swings, with or without anxiety
- Increased sweating (night sweats, sweaty hands)
- Eating issues (loss of appetite, digestion issues, cramping)
Most physical withdrawal signs will pass within 2 weeks – two months, however the issues around psychological addiction can remain for many months for some people.
Help With Withdrawl Symptoms
- Take hot baths
- Drink plenty of water and other clear liquids (you may also want to try cranberry juice)
- Eat foods that are high in potassium like melons, bananas, citrus, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes
- Decrease fat intake, especially if experiencing stomach issues
- Decrease caffeine use, especially if feeling shaky
- Drink warm milk before bed if having sleep issues
One problem people will often find is that they will abstain from smoking for a while, maybe even 6 or more months, and then will decide they can smoke once, or once in awhile. Unfortunately, they will often find themselves quickly increasing use to the levels they were at before quitting. That is how addiction works, once triggered it stays within the brain even when the person has stopped using.
There is Help
For assistance on quitting smoking, or to learn more information call the Office of Health Education and Promotion, Health Services at (603) 862-3823 and make an appointment with an Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Educator/Counselor. You can also make appointments online. Counseling/education is only available to UNH students.
Other Common Names: marijuana, “pot”, “weed”, “grass”
Marijuana is the dried shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. It is smoked, eaten or vaporized to release its active ingredient, a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. It also contains another 400 chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic. Pot is a mind altering drug (psychoactive). The THC triggers the brain cells to release dopamine which is what creates the “high”. The drug is illegal in most states and is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, though conversations for legalization for medical use or decriminalization occur throughout the country regularly and have resulted in medical use policy.
Marijuana can cause euphoria, increased heart rate, impaired or reduced short- term memory and distorted perception. It can also cause the reaction time to slow, blood shot eyes, throat and mouth to become dry, a relaxed feeling, and can cause the user to become hungry and thirsty.
- Difficulty keeping track of time,
- Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
- Potential cardiac dangers for those with pre-existing heart disease
- Decreased social inhibitions
- Paranoia, hallucinations
- Impaired or reduced comprehension
- Altered motivation and cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult
- Psychological dependence
- Impairments in learning, perception, and judgment
- difficulty speaking, listening effectively, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving, and forming concepts
- Intense anxiety or panic attacks
Long term use can cause cancer, lung and airway problems (including respiratory infections), impaired immune system, memory impairments, anxiety, panic attacks and fertility issues. Users also report lack of motivation or difficulty setting and reaching goals.
- Enhanced cancer risk
- Decrease in testosterone levels and lower sperm counts for men
- Increase in testosterone levels for women and increased risk of infertility
- Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
- Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect
- Increase risk of psychosis and schizophrenia
Additional Marijuana Information
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