Cannabis News DrugSense
  Marijuana Popular Recreation Drug at San Diego SU
Posted by FoM on April 15, 2000 at 08:26:14 PT
By Ondrea Shearer, The Daily Aztec  
Source: U-WIRE 

cannabis The flame ignited -- thick, milky-white smoke began to creep up the glass chamber. Seconds later, the sound of bubbling water died, the flame disappeared, she inhaled the contents of the chamber and slowly exhaled a billowy cloud of smoke. She leaned back in the couch and passed the bong.

Katie, a sophomore at San Diego State University, said she regularly smokes marijuana because it's relaxing and social.

"Smoking pot is something my friends and I do to spend time together and hang out," Katie said. "It puts everyone on the same level, and for some reason creates a bond between everyone there. Everyone seems to be more friendly and open, even if new people are around."

Smoking marijuana produces a state of relaxation, accelerated heart rate, perceived slowing of time and a sense of heightened hearing, vision, taste, touch and smell.

The effects of marijuana differ depending on the amount consumed and the circumstances under which it is taken.

A 1998 study conducted by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services confirmed that marijuana use is prevalent on college campuses. The study found 40 percent of college students have used marijuana in their lifetime, and more than 14 percent used it at least once a week.

"Marijuana has been an increasing problem on campus in the last couple of years," said University Police Lt. Charles Schwoerke. "About 20 tickets a month are written for possession of marijuana in the campus area.

"Only a ticket is written if a student is found in possession of marijuana intended for personal use. The maximum fine for first offenders is $100, and if you are under 21 years of age, your driver's license will be suspended for a year."

Marijuana comes from the plant cannabis sativa; a tall, furry herb that grows up to 6 feet tall. The plant provides fiber from its stems, oil from its seeds and drugs from its leaves and flowers. Although marijuana is generally smoked, it can be eaten in a variety baked foods.

A national survey conducted on 17,592 students at 140 American colleges explored characteristics common in marijuana smokers.

The survey showed marijuana users are generally single, white, and preferred spending more time at parties and socializing with friends than studying. It also revealed that in general, marijuana smokers engaged in other high-risk behaviors, such as binge-drinking and cigarette-smoking.

Katie, a 20-year-old Caucasian student, said about 70 percent of her friends, regularly smoke marijuana.

"I do like to go out to parties and drink and socialize more than I like to study, but I maintain above-average grades and work part-time," she said. "I think most college students do their share of drinking and experimenting. After all, that is half of the college experience -- finding out about life and yourself."

Although many college students today experiment with marijuana, getting high in college is not a new thing. Most were born to parents who grew up in the '60s, and some students, like business sophomore Paul, admit to getting high with their parents' friends.

Paul is a daily pot-smoker who admits to getting high with his next-door neighbor, a longtime friend of his father's.

"My parents don't smoke weed, but I have gotten high with my dad's friend many times," Paul said. "I smoke once or twice a day as a personal reward for doing homework. I save (smoking marijuana) for the right time of day. I put my priorities straight and get good grades. I mean, I have never got a D or an F in a class."

Paul said he also uses marijuana to relax and socialize. He said he prefers to smoke marijuana in a joint, a cigarette-like form.

"I like to smoke a joint because it is one of the most original ways to smoke it," Paul said. "It's how it has been smoked for centuries. It is almost bond-forming. When you smoke a joint with someone, you're sharing something mouth to mouth and passing it on. It is almost a giving circle."

Paul said weed is easy to get but can get costly.

"Weed is a phone call away, a five-minute walk," Paul said. "I spend about $80 a week on weed, but selling weed can help keep the cost down."

That five-minute walk may be to the College Area residence senior Eric, who has been selling marijuana since his freshman year.

"Ever since I lived in the dorms, and in high school, I have been selling pot," Eric said. "I can buy an ounce of chronic (high-grade weed) for $250 and turn around and sell it for $20 a gram. That is a $310 profit.

"Of course, if I sell it in larger amounts, I end up making less money, but if I buy in larger amounts I spend less, too. It's great because I make money, meet new people and toke for free."

Eric said he generally sells about eight ounces of marijuana per week. He said he has never been ticketed or arrested and isn't worried about legal ramifications.

"Selling weed isn't like selling cocaine," Eric said. "You're not going to go to jail for some weed. The money I make is worth a stupid fine or community service. I have never even been questioned by the police after four years of selling and I am not worried about it in the future."

Schwoerke said he hasn't seen someone on campus go to jail for possession of marijuana in at least 20 years.

However, if someone is suspected of selling marijuana, the punishment becomes much stricter and fines increase. He said the amount of marijuana and the method of packaging are the deciding factors whether or not a person is suspected of selling.

Although many baby-boomer parents may have smoked pot when they were college students, the weed of the new millennium is not the same weed mom and pop may have smoked during their college days.

According to Cecelia Balzer, an intelligence analyst at the Drug Enforcement Agency, the potency of marijuana has doubled since the 1970s due to more efficient methods of cultivation, harvesting and processing.

Consequently, the health risks of smoking marijuana have intensified. Short-term effects include problems with memory and learning, distorted perceptions, difficulty solving problems, loss of coordination, increased heart rate and anxiety or panic attacks.

"I have experienced some paranoia after getting high," Katie said. "I was getting high at a friend's house before I went to the tanning salon and he was telling me about the horrible effects of indoor tanning. When I left his house, I couldn't go to my tanning appointment. I was pretty freaked out."

While it is unclear whether marijuana can be linked to cancer, regular marijuana users often develop breathing problems, frequent coughing, phlegm production and wheezing.

"I am not worried about any short-term effects besides forgetting what I was just talking about," Paul said. "There aren't any long-term effects that I think about either, because I have seen people that have smoked for a long time and they are very successful. It obviously doesn't hinder people."

Joe, a former SDSU student, said drinking, smoking weed and bad study habits got him placed on academic probation and kicked out of SDSU.

"I partied hard my freshman semester," Joe said. "I was smoking weed at last 5 times a day and drinking every night.

"I was completely belligerent 5 or 6 days out of the week. I got a wake-up call when I was placed on academic probation after my first semester. Even though I passed all my classes second semester it wasn't enough to raise my G.P.A up and I was kicked out of state."

Joe now attends Grossmont Community College and takes classes though open university at SDSU. He said he still smokes weed daily and wouldn't change anything about his first semester at SDSU except his study habits.

"My advice to students on campus who want to party and smoke weed is 'Go To Class'," Joe said.

A 1996 study conducted at Harvard Medical School performed on college students found that heavy marijuana use is associated with residual neuropsychological effects even a day after of abstinence from the drug -- such as slower reaction times and difficulty making decisions. Since marijuana remains in one's system for an extended period of time, it is likely to have some effect on a student's ability to perform at an optimal level, the study found.

Despite legal ramifications and possible health risks, many college students continue to smoke marijuana. There is even a special day and time for it referred to as "Four-Twenty."

"Four-Twenty is the national pot smoking time and day," Paul said. "I first heard about it when I was a sophomore in high school. My friends and I celebrate it regularly. On this day at 4:20 p.m. on 4/20 we smoke a lot of cannabis sativa."

Where and how Four-Twenty exactly originated is uncertain. Many stories exist about its origins. One commonly believed story is that it was a code used by Northern California police to identify pot smoking.

Schwoerke said four-twenty is not an official code used by police to identify marijuana smoking in progress.

Published: April 14, 2000
(C) 2000 The Daily Aztec via U-WIRE
Copyright 2000 At Home Corporation.

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Comment #6 posted by BizzyB on April 24, 2001 at 22:09:09 PT:

Proof in the Puddin'
I've smoked herb for ~7 years now. Show me a 25 year old that makes 85k a year and is happy, healthy, and intelligent; and I'll show you a picture of me with a bong in my hand ;-)

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by Kanabys on April 17, 2000 at 07:44:22 PT
I want it strong
I would rather have weed that all I had to take was one hit and quit, rather that a whole joint or two!! Really, does anyone want to inhale all that smoke?? I'd be willing to bet not! Kan

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #4 posted by Alexandre Oeming on April 16, 2000 at 17:00:23 PT:

Prove me wrong
All i've heard is that there is NO DATA on the strength of the bud that "our folks" were smoking. Can anyone prove differently? If not, then all the DEA pigs are presenting is a comparison to ... nothing and touting it as a need for repression! Deplorable.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #3 posted by Old Timer on April 16, 2000 at 08:29:05 PT
So the DEA Says
"Although many baby-boomer parents may have smoked pot when they were college students, the weed of the new millennium is not the same weed mom and pop may have smoked during their college days. According to [the DEA] ..."

Yeah, this is bogus on the face of it. Do any of the old timers remember "Maui Wowie"? That used to be available in the 70's. Very strong. Also what about plain old hash? That was more available in the 70's than now, and was very strong.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #2 posted by mungojelly on April 16, 2000 at 08:21:45 PT:

two words for you
"Although many baby-boomer parents may have smoked pot when they were college students, the weed of the new millennium is not the same weed mom and pop may have smoked during
their college days." -- two words for you: rationalizing hypocrisy.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #1 posted by Symmetric on April 15, 2000 at 22:20:39 PT:

campus police are redundant.
Campus police have a legitimate role in ensuring the saftey of students on campus, but I dislike it when they try to enforce their own drug prohibition. It's basically double prohibition! We always take a walk off campus because at least you only have to deal with the cops instead of that and also fellow students who would gladly fine me $150 for lighting up. At least if you are respectfull to the cops they won't charge you with anything because it's a lot more work for them.

[ Post Comment ]

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