Cannabis, also known as weed, pot, or marijuana, is increasingly legalized at the state level in several states, including the Idaho area.
Although still illegal at the federal level, access to cannabis has expanded significantly. Vandal Health Education seeks to provide information about cannabis that can help students make informed decisions and take steps to reduce the risk of negative outcomes when using it.
Cannabis can be consumed in a number of ways: smoking, ingestion, or vaporizing. When cannabis is smoked or vaporized, it affects the body immediately and can last around 1-3 hours. When a person ingests cannabis or ingests an edible product, the effects generally appear between 30 and 60 minutes, sometimes even two hours, after ingestion, and can last for around six hours or more.
The short-term effects of cannabis use are diverse and can include altered senses, mood swings, impaired coordination and reaction time, difficulty solving problems, impaired memory, hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis. Possible long-term effects of cannabis can include physical and psychological addiction, lethargy, weakened immune system, impaired sleep quality, impaired cognition and memory, anxiety, and reduced attention span.
Some short- and long-term consequences, including impaired cognition, memory, and reduced attention span can lead to negative academic repercussions. The UI National College Health Assessment found that 4.2% of University of Idaho students who reported using cannabis in the past 12 months reported that cannabis use had a negative impact on classroom performance.
Research by the National Institute of Health has shown that there is a correlation between high cannabis use rates and higher missed class rates, lower GPA, and lower graduation rates. While there are academic and health risks associated with cannabis use, financial and legal risks can also exist.
For those who want to use it, Vandal Health Education just wants you to be safe! Consider safer usage strategies to reduce the risk of negative outcomes. Avoid mixing with alcohol or other substances, do not drive after using cannabis, only use it in a safe place, buy less so that you consume less, avoid self-medication with cannabis, only buy through an authorized one Pharmacy or just choose not to use it.
If you are looking for more information about cannabis or if you are looking for help, there are several resources available on campus. For substance use counseling and addiction support, contact the University of Idaho Counseling and Testing Services at (208) 885-6716 or online at https://www.uidaho.edu/ctc. If you’re looking for more information, Vandal Health Education will be filing outside of the ISUB on Monday April 19th from 11pm to 1pm. Web-based cannabis screening is also available on the Vandal Health Education page for personal feedback on how usage patterns can affect your health and personal goals using the e-checkup to-go assessment at www.uidaho.edu/ echeckup.
Ryan Collins can be contacted at [email protected]