Marijuana

Some facts about cannabis (pot, weed, hashish, ganja, grass):

  • Heavy cannabis smoking (more than 50 times) doubles one’s risk of developing lung cancer.1
  • Recent research is finding that long-term, regular use (at least 4 times a week) of marijuana can alter brain development, particularly in parts of the brain related to decision making.2
  • Some states have legalized medicinal use of cannabis for individuals who struggle to manage negative symptoms of chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. At this time, the state of Florida does not recognize legal use of medical cannabis.
  • According to the University of Florida’s regulations, “use, possession, manufacturing, distribution, or sale of marijuana, heroin, narcotics, or any other controlled substance which is prohibited by law.” Also, “possession of drug paraphernalia including but not limited to bongs or glass pipes” is prohibited.

1 Callagran RC, Allebeck P, & Sidorchuk A. (2013). Marijuana use and risk of lung cancer: a 40-year cohort study. Cancer Causes Control, 24.

2 Filby FM, Aslan S, Calhoun VD, Spence JS, Damaraju E, Caprihan A, and Segall J. (2014). Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain. PNAS, 111 (47).

Other Drugs

Other drugs that you should be aware of and avoid:

  • MDMA: Known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly,” MDMA is a psychoactive drug that produces increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, and time/sensory distortions. MDMA increases neurotransmitter activity and can cause a depletion of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. This depletion can cause confusion, sleep problems, drug craving, and anxiety. Heavy use has been associated with long-lasting confusion, depression, sleep abnormalities, and attention/memory problems.
  • Synthetic Marijuana: Can also be known as “Spice,” “K2,” and many other names, this is in reference to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that are intended to mimic the experience felt when using marijuana. It is marketed as a “safe” alternative, but it is actually dangerous and unregulated. Some abusers of this drug have experienced rapid heart rate, vomiting, confusion, and has been associated with heart attacks. Since there is no documented medical benefit and the chemicals in these mixtures have a high potential for abuse, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has found synthetic marijuana illegal to use, sell, or posses.

Take Action

The University of Florida offers support and education for students on campus through the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC), located at 3190 Radio Road, provides services such as counseling, support groups, and campus recovery communities.

Resources

Learn more about the health effects of drug use – including marijuana, prescription medications misuse, club drugs, and designer drugs.