Substance Use Resources

Cannabis Health Facts

  • Cannabis has a direct effect on the brain, specifically the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision-making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time. [1]
  • Cannabis use increases heart rate and blood pressure immediately after use. Use can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, or other vascular diseases. (Studies linking marijuana with these health impacts are based on reports from those who smoke as opposed to other methods of use). [1]
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) smoked marijuana, regardless of how it is smoked, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels. [1]
  • Cannabis use can negatively affect your respiratory system and your immune system, which puts you at an increased risk for COVID-19. [2]

Cannabis and Mental Health

  • According to the CDC, marijuana use, especially frequently (daily or nearly daily) and in high doses, can cause disorientation and sometimes unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
  • People who use marijuana are more likely to develop temporary psychosis and long-lasting mental disorders, including schizophrenia. The association between marijuana and schizophrenia is stronger in people who start using marijuana at an earlier age and use marijuana more frequently.
  • Marijuana use has also been linked to depression; social anxiety; thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and suicide.[2]

Effects on Academic Performance

  • Memory function is the most consistently impaired cognitive domain affected by cannabis.
  • The most extensive evidence for impairment is in verbal learning and memory. This impairment can be particularly seen in chronic users but has also been seen in occasional users.
  • Impaired attention has been documented in chronic users. This has remained even after someone has gone 30 days without using.
  • Frequent Marijuana use has been linked to skipping class, lower GPA, and possibly longer time to graduation. [3]

Marijuana and Driving

Driving under the influence is dangerous; users can experience

  • Slower reaction times
  • Lane weaving
  • Decreased coordination
  • Difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.[4]

Mixing Substances

  • Mixing substances such as alcohol and marijuana can be dangerous. This often occurs when people are trying to enhance the drug first used. Alcohol is a nervous system depressant that profoundly affects motor skills while marijuana is a psychoactive drug that is mood-altering and has primarily cognitive effects. [5]

Edibles

  • It takes time to feel the effects of edibles. Many people may be inclined to consume more and then have a bad reaction. [6]
  • Depending on a person’s metabolism it could take anywhere from an hour to a few hours before someone feels the effects of the edible.[6]
  • Give yourself 60 minutes before taking more.

THC Overdose

According to the American Addiction Centers, it is possible to overdose on the THC found in edibles. An overdose can cause the following symptoms: [7]

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Impaired motor control
  • Extreme confusion
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Severe nausea and/or vomiting
  • Panic
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations   

Rates of emergency room visits have increased over the past 16 years. From 2006-2014 cannabis-related visits increased 12.1%. From 2016-2017 they went up another 17.3%, and 11.1% from 2017-2018. For more information please visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871622000254?via%3Dihub

Cannabis Addiction

  • Research shows that 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted.
  • 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted
  • Over the past few decades, the amount of THC in marijuana has steadily increased. Today’s marijuana contains three times the concentration of THC compared to 25 years ago.
  • The higher the THC amount, the stronger the effects on the brain.
  • More THC is likely to lead to higher rates of dependency and addiction. [8]
  • Withdrawal symptoms can present themselves in people who use daily or at least a couple of times a month. Symptoms include:[9]
    • Feelings of anger, irritability, and/or aggressiveness
    • Sensations of extreme nervousness or anxiety
    • Disturbances with sleep can include insomnia or very disturbing dreams and even nightmares
    • A decrease in appetite that may or may not be associated with a significant loss of weight
    • Feelings of restlessness and general malaise
    • The onset of feelings of depression
    • Physical symptoms that cause significant distress, such as abdominal pain, fever, chills, sweating, headache, and/or tremors or shakiness.

Tips for Cutting Back

  • Think about changing: Why do you use? What do you like about it? Why do you want to cut down or stop?
  • Plan for the change: Set a goal and date for changing your use. Make it realistic. Share your plan with people you trust and ask for support.
  • Act on your decision: Distract or do something. Make a list of fun activities unrelated to your use and keep busy. Delay. Stop and think before using. Wait 15 minutes to ride the craving, and the wave of desire may pass. Plan ahead. Avoid high-risk situations and people who use.
  • Have a backup plan: If you haven’t achieved your goal yet, that’s ok. Consider the situation in which you used and see what could be changed next time. Review your plan and see if it needs revising. [10]

Resources

Upper Peninsula Area Substance Use Disorder Treatment Resource Guide

Marijuana and Public Health

Know the Risks of Marijuana

MTU Student Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs

Marijuana Drug Facts

Marijuana's Lasting Effects on the Brain

Articles

Arria, A. M., Caldeira, K. M., Bugbee, B. A., Vincent, K. B., & O'Grady, K. E. (2015). The academic consequences of marijuana use during college. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(3), 564–575. https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000108 

Pizzol, D., Demurtas, J., Stubbs, B., Soysal, P., Mason, C., Isik, A. T., Solmi, M., Smith, L., & Veronese, N. (2019). Relationship between cannabis use and erectile dysfunction: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Men's Health, 13(6), 155798831989246. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988319892464 

Bolin, R. M., Pate, M., & McClintock, J. (2017). The impact of alcohol and marijuana use on academic achievement among college students. The Social Science Journal, 54(4), 430–437. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soscij.2017.08.003

Citations

[1]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 19). Mental health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/mental-health.html 

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 19). Lung health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/lung-health.html

[3] Arria AM, Caldeira KM, Bugbee BA, Vincent KB, O'Grady KE. The academic consequences of marijuana use during college. Psychol Addict Behav. 2015 Sep;29(3):564-75. doi: 10.1037/adb0000108. Epub 2015 Aug 3. PMID: 26237288; PMCID: PMC4586361

[4] SAMHSA. (n.d.). Know the risks of marijuana. Know the Risks of Marijuana . https://www.samhsa.gov/marijuana.

[5] National Institute on Drug Abuse, N. I. of H. (2021, June 7). Marijuana DrugFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana.

[6]http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/sapc/MDU/DE/MarijuanaEdiblesFactSheet040416.pdf

[7]https://recovery.org/marijuana/edibles-thc-overdose/

[8] SAMHSA. (n.d.). Know the risks of marijuana. Know the Risks of Marijuana . https://www.samhsa.gov/marijuana.

[9]Edited by Marisa Crane, B. S. L. U. N. 19. (2021, November 19). Marijuana withdrawal: Symptoms, timeline & treatment. American Addiction Centers. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/withdrawal-timelines-treatments/weed-marijuana 

[10]SBIRT screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for substance use. SBIRT Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Substance Use. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.sbirt.care/.