By: Christopher Pope, Staff Reporter
Marijuana can have potentially harmful psychological side effects, but it can also yield short-term benefits, said part-time CHSS instructor Karren Johnson.
Marijuana also contains THC which turns into tar when smoked and impairs lung function. Cannabis can have many positive psychological effects, such as calming people with anxiety disorders and PTSD, she said.
“It’s highly psychologically addictive, even though it’s not physically addictive. What we mean by that is someone can become psychologically dependent on it, but quitting won’t cause physical withdrawals like with cocaine or heroin. That’s why everyone always says ‘it’s not addictive; it’s not a problem,’” she said.
Liberal Arts major Daniel Berry said he thinks marijuana use is much safer than alcohol use. He said he does not think there is anything wrong with it. It should be legalized because it does not do damage to the body like alcohol does, said Berry.
“I think it works with pain. I know this first hand from shoulder surgery and stuff instead of taking narcotic pain medication and being addicted to them. It was nice to offset that with a little bit of marijuana to help me cope with the pain,” he said.
Welding major Oren Joe said that while he does not believe that marijuana is harmful, he does not think it should be legalized.
“Other people have their own opinions, but personally, I don’t think it should be legalized because it’s affecting a lot of the younger generations,” said Joe.
It is illegal to possess marijuana in the state of New Mexico without a prescription, according to findlaw.com. Misdemeanor possession can result in a jail sentence of 15 days to one year in prison and fines of $50 to $1,000. Felony marijuana charges come with a minimum one year jail sentence.
Johnson said marijuana relaxes users because their central nervous system is inhibited, but it is also doing damage to their lungs.
Some users prefer edible versions of the drug, such as hash brownies or THC butter, because of the lung damage smoking can cause, said Johnson.
Those diagnosed with PTSD can use edibles before they go to sleep, so they can have nightmare-free sleep, said Johnson.
“You can get medical cannabis in the state of New Mexico for PTSD diagnoses. They will often times say ‘take an edible two hours before your bedtime.’ It lasts about six hours, and you may be able to sleep without the disturbances of nightmares and anxiety attacks,” said Johnson.
Marijuana does have some practical uses, but people should be aware of its side effects, said Nursing major Katelyn Murphy.
It does have medical uses, such as aiding patents with epilepsy, headaches, cancer and glaucoma, but users should not drive or engage in other activities that require sharp reflexes while under the influence, she said.
She said she does not believe that smoking pot will lead to hardcore drug use.
“I don’t think it’s a gateway drug at all, I just think it’s the individual who makes the choice,” she said.