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The Most Widely Used Illicit Drug In The United States

1057 words - 5 pages

The most widely used illicit crud in the United States is marijuana. The most widely and popular illicit drug among college students is marijuana, with some students reporting using marijuana at least four times a week. But what are the academic implications of regular marijuana use? Will it negatively affect one’s GPA? This paper investigates and discusses the negative implications of regular marijuana use.
Introduction
Marijuana appears to be the drug of choice among college students and young adults and has been for the past decade. The prevalence of this particular illicit drug among this group of young adults brings to the forefront the question, what are the effects of marijuana use on grade point average (GPA)? Who is using the drug and how often? What are the effects of marijuana on the brain and brain processes? As a college student these questions are so important because the drug is so readily available to us and with the ongoing legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use it’s important to know the facts. While marijuana remains a schedule 1 drug, it is still the most widely used illicit drug among college students in America.
This paper will cover how marijuana acts in the brain, and how the drug alters normal psychological and physiological processes. I will also cover information of the prevalence of use and abuse among college students and what motivates them to use the drug.
Marijuana in The Brain
Marijuana, also known as cannabis sativa, is dried and rolled into cigarettes and smoked. In small to moderate doses, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plants active ingredient, is absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs, and produces feelings of well-being and euphoria. When THC enters the brain it stimulates the users reward system by stimulating the brain to release the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. Dopamine plays a major role in motor control, motivation, arousal, cognition, and reward. After smoking marijuana, one may begin to experience relaxation, sensory perception, altered perception of time and increased appetite. In large doses, the drug can cause paranoia, hallucinations, and dizziness (Fackelmann 1993). Many studies have been conducted to determine the effects marijuana has on the brain and brain function and motor effects. A report from the University of Tondheim, Norwegian Institute of Technology published a study of the possible brain effects by researcher Tarald O. Kvalseth, he finds that “while marijuana does not seem to affect reaction of speed of movement, it can reduce the accuracy of such movements. “ Kvalseth conducted an experiment using six “experienced marijuana users” all within the college student age range. Each subject underwent a series of tests after smoking lightly and heavily; Kvalseth reports that marijuana “did not have a statistically significant effect on...

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