Guest Blog 5 Adriana Velasquez
In recent years marijuana has been a hot topic of debate. It seems at this point the debate is far less about whether marijuana is safe for use, but more about how to manage its distribution and regulate when it is and is not appropriate for consumption. Thanks to recent scientific studies on the substance it has become clear that there are a number of benefits to be had by users, and yes, even college students.
I can say from a personal perspective that using marijuana during my college years kept my mind sharp and focused. Of course there are some that do not react to it the same way that I did, but during my college years I ran multiple organizations as president, took 18 credits a semester, worked 25 hours a week and had three young children that I was primarily responsible for. Yes, I was somewhat younger 7 years ago, but the only other difference was that I used marijuana regularly.
My experience is that using marijuana enabled me to think more critically, regardless of what the topic was. It opened my mind to other perspectives and enabled me to consider viewpoints I had never considered before. It also reduced my anxiety, which a large percentage of college students suffer from, and by not being anxious I was able to let my thoughts flow freely, making the typically arduous task of writing ten page papers a breeze.
With all of that said, marijuana is not for everyone. Each individual has different brain chemistry, sensitivities, and tolerances. For some people, smoking just a couple of puffs of the substance leaves them feeling lazy and dazed. Clearly that would not be conducive to a productive learning environment for those individuals, but the key is knowing whether it is something that you can tolerate and putting it down if it is not.
Another concern, of course, is that minors tend to frequent college campuses, whether it is to visit siblings, or to visit friends that have recently left their local high school. Given that fact, it should be expected and enforced that no minors use the substance on campus, and that those that supply it or smoke it in their presence be punished accordingly. This does not mean there is something wrong with the substance, but it should only be consumed by those that are of an age to consent, just like any other substance.
Finally, it should not be allowed to be used by those that represent the organization if they participate in organized sports. This is a tough call because it is not yet possible to test if you used that day, but only if you used within the last 30 days, leaving those individuals unable to partake at all to be safe. If there were a way to determine this, however, they should be able to use when they are not official representation of the school.
There is no doubt that soon this will be the norm. The only things left to consider is how to manage it. College students have been smoking pot on campuses for decades, now the task is to ensure they can do so responsibility.