Better off with a bong than a bottle

Illustration by Diana Ortega

College students and marijuana seem like a stereotype we have all seen in movies. But have we ever thought about the benefits it could provide as opposed to alcohol? Have we considered how some students view marijuana as a necessity for health reasons? This could be the missing key for many students who suffer from chronic stress, trouble sleeping or anxiety.

Many people use marijuana for medical purposes. Cancer patients who receive chemotherapy treatments use it to relieve nausea from their medicine. Other people who suffer from seizures use it to calm their bodies down and to prevent future seizures from happening.

From what I have seen in my four years at NAU, every student has experienced major stress at one or several periods of time during the school year. This is due to tedious schoolwork, managing a heavy course load and other outside factors like financial issues. I have also seen the effect alcohol can have on students. On the weekends, alcohol consumption can make people aggressive, incoherent and make them regret their actions the next day. I have never seen anyone who has used marijuana act anywhere close to aggressive.

NAU should consider letting students who have medical marijuana cards possess marijuana on campus. This can allow students to possess and use marijuana in their residence halls without the worry of getting in trouble with their Resident Assistant or the police.

I do not condone the use of marijuana before driving and it is probably not a good idea to smoke or consume marijuana before class because it can make students feel drowsy and not pay attention. Marijuana is perfect for students who have trouble sleeping, though. It will not cause addiction like other sleep aids can.

It is also an alternative to alcohol. Alcohol does not offer any benefit for students and it can cause the feeling of being hungover the next day. There is the potential for alcohol poisoning, not remembering one’s actions or fights to be caused.

From my own experiences, I have never seen anyone consume marijuana to the point where they do not want to leave bed the next day or to where they get angry more easily and want to cause a fight.

Students go through tremendous amounts of stress and once their schoolwork is done it is best to find a way to relax from a hectic day. Marijuana, through consumption, can help students relax and will not cause them to worry about whatever was causing them to feel stressed from the day.

There could be the argument that students will not be using marijuana for the correct reasons and could sell it to other students but honestly, students will always find a way to access marijuana. This is the same for underage students to get alcohol. Students who have been prescribed marijuana for medical reasons will use it for whatever their doctor instructed them to use it for.

NAU can take note from other countries and states where marijuana is legal and does not cause any issues. In the Netherlands, marijuana can be purchased from designated stores and it does not require a prescription from a doctor. The only requirement is whoever is purchasing it has to be 18 or older and it cannot be consumed or smoked in public.

In Arizona, marijuana cannot be purchased for recreational use but it can be purchased for medical use. Medical marijuana is what I think students who experience anxiety from schoolwork need.

NAU should weigh the risk factors of marijuana and see how it can possibly lower alcohol use. Somewhere in the future, I predict marijuana will become legal throughout the United States and universities will have to comply with the changing laws.