Happy Daze

Happy Daze
Posted by CN Staff on April 20, 2006 at 08:24:32 PT
By Mike Faulk, Student Life Editor
Source: Crimson White
Alabama -- Stoned, quietly watching television at his friends' apartment, he said the police were in the room before he even knew who had come to the door. They searched everyone and arrested him after they found a small bag of marijuana on him."I was a little scared and surprised," said the UA sophomore, who insisted on anonymity to protect his reputation. "Well, very surprised."
Getting caught can be a pot smoker's worst nightmare, but for the many UA students who smoke pot and will likely celebrate their subculture's holiday today, April 20 or "4/20," that fear is nearly non-existent because the habit feels so innocent.The sophomore said since he's been arrested he's stopped smoking, but only because he's been subject to drug testing. He and other students said they should be allowed to smoke pot because there's nothing morally wrong with it."Morals are completely subjective," he said. "I was doing something that society sees as morally wrong in general - but no, I don't think it's wrong."A female sophomore who also did not want to be identified said she had been smoking pot since the 11th grade. She said drinking alcohol is more likely to hurt people than smoking pot."If people can be drunk and belligerent, then I can smoke and have a good time," she said.And from a medical standpoint, alcohol can be a "much more dangerous drug" than marijuana, said Dr. David Roberts of the UA Student Health Center.Roberts said drinking alcohol can come with greater degrees of impairment, as well as increased degrees of violent behavior. He said people under the influence of marijuana are generally not as dangerous as someone who has been drinking alcohol.But, Roberts said, smoking marijuana also comes with health problems. He said marijuana is an irritant that can cause respiratory diseases. Smoking pot can also reduce personal motivation and impair someone's ability to make decisions or concentrate."It's not something to be using if you want to be at the top of your game in a tough academic environment," Roberts said.A junior majoring in education who smokes pot and also insisted on anonymity said the drug has never affected how she performs in her classes. She said she makes A's and B's."It doesn't really affect my studying," she said. "There are times when I've studied high, and it's only had a little impact on my concentration."Some students said that after smoking pot, they realized many more people than criminals and hippies use the drug. Others said they thought their personalities naturally led them to try the substance. "When my friends were listening to Hanson, I was listening to Jefferson Airplane," said the female sophomore. She said marijuana helped some of her favorite artists create their greatest works and, after doing some research, decided she wanted to experience it as well.She and other UA students said some of the most intelligent people they know smoke pot. The student, who herself is in a sorority, said a number of people she knows that use marijuana are "very involved" in positive extracurricular activities at the Capstone."I've always thought of pot as the smart kids' drug," she said, but added that marijuana use can still be taken to unhealthy extremes.She and other pot smokers said the most common side effect is laziness. She said some people can get carried away and even base their friendships on pot, and she has known people who did it so often that they started excluding friends who didn't smoke it.Though many pot smokers claim the drug isn't addictive, Lee Keyes, director of the UA Counseling Center, said people can develop psychological dependencies on marijuana just as easily as any other substance. He said addiction usually comes from students attempting to treat depression or anxiety by using the drug.Keyes said there is still debate among experts as to whether pot is physiologically, or chemically, addictive, but said he's seen students with cases of marijuana dependency so bad that its impact has caused them to drop out of school to get counseling and rehabilitation.Keyes said treatment can include counseling and rehabilitation, but he said for many students they simply need help to deal with anxiety on their own.One UA student said he had been using pot as a means of treating anxiety and depression without even knowing it until he was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and had to quit smoking to pass drug tests.He said he didn't realize how bad he felt and didn't know how to cope with it because smoking too much pot sedated his feelings, but didn't solve his personal problems. Now that he's not smoking and in counseling, he said he's made a lot of progress.Marijuana didn't cause the depression, but getting high every day was a "symptom" of it, he said. He said others who are depressed or suffer from anxiety shouldn't use pot as an escape."It can really make it worse, because you don't see the symptoms. You don't know how you really feel," he said. He also said that he would eventually smoke it again, though only from time to time.According to UA Student Judicial Affairs, 41 student non-academic misconduct violations for drug use have been filed in the 2005-06 academic year - up only two from last year."We've had a lot of drug violations recently," said Tim Hebson, Judicial Affairs director and associate dean of students. Hebson said students who are caught with drugs and reported to Judicial Affairs can face punishments such as academic probation or a suspension of up to two years.He said students caught with drugs in dormitories are usually kicked out.Neither of the UA students who were arrested said their cases were reported to Judicial Affairs and said they only had to face punishment from the city.While the student in counseling said his use of marijuana wasn't morally wrong, he called the night he was taken to jail one of the worst in his life. But he also said it might have been a blessing that he was caught and had to quit."It definitely helped me get back to normal faster than I would have," he said. "It shocked me back into reality."Note: Students, experts talk about risks and benefits of smoking marijuana and the pot subculture at the University.Source: Crimson White, The (Edu, Univ of Alabama)Author: Mike Faulk, Student Life EditorPublished: April 20, 2006Copyright: 2006 The Crimson WhiteContact: cwletters -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by Storm Crow on April 20, 2006 at 09:19:09 PT
Maybe it's just me.....
OK, to put it bluntly I was once a neurotic, depressed teen with a bi-polar mother. Family life = hell. I also have migraines that pot stops. I have smoked it for just shy of 40 years. My second time around in college (I dropped out the 1st time to get married), I wrote virtually all of my papers stoned and "cleaned" them up straight. I graduated with honors. Made the "President's List" 4 times, the "Dean's List" twice. And yes, pot is psychologically addicting, but I have a cousin who is addicted to Coca-Cola! He buys it by the case and has a pile of about a half dozen cases in his kitchen at all times. If he has less than 4, it's off to the store to get more. Let's ban Coca-Cola- my cousin is more than just "psychologically addicted" to it. Psycholgical addiction just means that you like something and have gotten used to it's presence in your life and when it's gone, you miss it. BFD! Pot helped me through my depression more than the psychiatrist and all the counselors I saw in high school. And doesn't Paxcil, and all the other anti-depressants, do exactly the same thing, get rid of the symptoms? So what's the difference between Paxcil and pot? Guess which one is safer??? Which one has fewer side effects??? Which one is easier to quit "cold turkey"??? Pot is named "the smart kid's drug" and it is. Yet here we are, disenfranchizing a whole generation of toking, smart kids, robbing the POOR smart kids of finantial aid (the rich kids just get the parents to cough up the $). I wonder how many bright kids are lost due to the loss of financial aid? Did we lose the cure for cancer because the pot smoking kid with the "magic" brain ended up being an accountant instead of a research scientist? Pot SAVED my life, and I've been lucky enough so the law hasn't ruined my life. I wish you all a happy 4/20 and ask that in honor of 4/20, you write a letter in honor of cannabis- congressperson, local politicos, your doctor, or a prisoner of the drug war. May I suggest writing Randy Brush? He is a medical marijuana user in Ohio who got 3 years for 4 plants, and apparently his ex turned him in (I'm sure some of you can relate to that! He has 3 kids and was a carpenter before he got injured on the job. Then he found he had several serious medical problems on top of his injuries. Randy Brush- #502945, Lorain Correctional Institute, 2075 South Avon-Beldon Road, Grafton, Ohio 44044. A letter would make his day! Happy 4/20! 
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