A Closer Look at Marijuana
By Gabby Caldera
To no surprise, the use of marijuana is quite common for many Novato High students. A New York Times article stated that 40% of high schoolers have at least ventured into the use of marijuana. This statistic might cause alarm among many parents, as they watch their children make their way through high school.
The overall belief is that students using marijuana during the school year will impair their learning in a negative way. In some cases, it might affect students in a positive way, but it usually depends on the person themselves.
“I think that absolutely marijuana impairs the student's learning because this is such a developmental time for students,” said Social Studies teacher Evan Underwood-Jett. “I’ve even seen it in my class, and when kids are showing up high to class they won't be able to fully commit or be a part of the class if you're completely zoned out.”
The National Drug Institute declared that marijuana has a negative effect on attention, memory, and learning, and can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. Considerable evidence suggests that students who smoke marijuana will have poor educational outcomes than their nonsmoking peers.
Business Insider reported that in 2010, researchers at Harvard Medical School actually suggested that a major benefit of marijuana may be the reduction of anxiety. Naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help regulate the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain, leaving the user less anxious and fearful.
Senior Grace Ashcroft discussed the use of marijuana.
“I believe that the use of marijuana can be truly medicinal to some of the greatest troubles that teenagers are dealing with such as depression and anxiety, not to mention the massive stress over all of the school work we are provided with daily,” said Ashcroft.
The Cerebral Cortex Journal claims that if users are consistent athletes and suffer from certain head injuries, marijuana can lessen the bruising of the brain and helped with healing mechanisms after a traumatic injury. This information came from an experiment with mice.
Former NBA commissioner David Stern also believes that marijuana can have healing effects.
“I think there’s universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal,” Stern said in a recent uninterrupted.com article. “I think all of the leagues are appropriately focused on player training . . . player rehabilitation in the case of injury, player nutrition [and] . . . this should be a part of that conversation. Could you imagine if we could create a situation where every superstar was able to play one additional year?”
In the end, there are both negative and positive effects of marijuana. With more and more research, there is more to discussing this topic than just simply considering it to be a party drug.