Marijuana users face stigma, but just want to chill

In Opinion
A sillhouette of a person in a sweaty gray shirt exhales dimly lit blue smoke.
(Photo Illustration by Sommer Clark/Daily Titan)

Over the years marijuana use has been stigmatized, often connected to stereotypes that give it a bad reputation.

But that negative stigma has slowly faded and we currently live in an age of legal recreational marijuana where a pothead could be a next door neighbor, an aunt, a parent or even a high-performing college student. Norms surrounding marijuana are changing, but people still face unnecessary stigmatization or criminalization for enjoying marijuana recreationally and medicinally.

Students especially tend to experience high levels of stress and anxiety in their daily lives. It is one of the main reasons individuals seek counseling or some sort of assistance in managing the burden of anxiety, sometimes through the use of marijuana.

Eighty-five percent of college students reported feeling, at some point, overwhelmed by the number of things they had to complete, according to to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a nonprofit organization that conducts research and practices regarding anxiety, depression and other disorders.

Marijuana use has a biological impact on the brain that helps users cope with stress.

Endocannabinoids are a neurotransmitter that is released when there is pain or stress to help stop these feelings. Marijuana contains cannabinoids, which are able to attach to the receptors in the brain and disrupt signals, causing different reactions ranging from relaxation to pain relief, according to Greatist.com, an open-minded online health blog.

Marijuana with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) can also help induce sleep when troubling thoughts disrupt bedtime slumbers, according to Healthline, a consumer health website.

Feeling well-rested isn’t just a good feeling, it’s an indicator of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is an important factor in mental and physical health. Without good rest, it can be hard to focus on tasks that need to be completed – resulting in apprehension and carelessness – which produces more anxiety.

Despite its benefits, it’s also true that marijuana can make it hard for students to focus, so studying, learning or concentration becomes difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to use it responsibly.

Students need to remain aware of their responsibilities of their school work and to state law. There are laws still in place that make it illegal to use weed in public and in vehicles for transportation while parked or driving. When traveling with cannabis, it must remain in a sealed container or in the trunk.

These are logical laws that uphold the safety of both cannabis users and the general public.

Cal State Fullerton follows the federal Controlled Substances Act that criminalizes and prohibits the growing and use of marijuana on campus, according to a 2015 University Policy statement by the Student Academic Life Committee.

Smoking within 1,000 feet of school zones is also unacceptable and against the law, so any misuse of substances, legal or otherwise, can result in disciplinary actions.

It would be careless for one to partake when there are countless studious tasks to accomplish on a deadline – that would only fan emotional flames and spark more distress.

If people want to promote the normalization of marijuana, it’s essential to uphold these laws.

There are plenty of valid reasons people enjoy using marijuana, and it’s ignorant to believe that cannabis users are rejects that neglect their responsibilities. If its influence on people provides a way to calm nervousness, and a way to cope with anxieties then they should have the freedom to use it.

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