Call it weed, pot, grass, dope or marijuana, they all are just different names for the drug extracted from cannabis plants. It can be smoked, drunk, vaped or eaten in the form of edibles – depending on personal preference. Used for pleasure and recreation, marijuana has compounds that alter the user’s mind and affect both the brain and body. Apart from its medicinal benefits, marijuana is also addictive and harmful to some. Its usage has negative elements attached to it, especially if the user is very young and school-going. This is because learning, sports and judgment are the three key areas among teens and children that are impacted by smoking marijuana.
Marijuana and School Students
Kids disengaged from their educational institutions believe that smoking a joint before doing their homework is a good idea, but research shows otherwise. Studies have proven that consuming weed dulls cognition and makes learning a difficult task. Marijuana directly affects the attention span and memory negatively, especially in teens and young adults. It takes them longer to do tasks that are complex due to a lack of focus and concentration.
Recent research by the University of Waterloo states that students of high school level and those pursuing university tend to get poor grades when they smoke marijuana regularly. It is a fact that the human brain keeps developing actively until an individual reaches the early twenties. Studies suggest that adults who smoke the drug unceasingly during their juvenile years display lower neural connectivity in all regions of the brain responsible for inhibitions, learning, and memory.
It has been seen in students who consume marijuana a minimum once per month that they start skipping classes, leave their homework unattended and incomplete, are careless for good grades, and lose motivation to apply themselves to their studies. Over time, even if they try to focus, they are less likely to get high grades. Compared to non-users who showed their willingness to pursue university, the students who use drugs at least once a day reported considering dropping out or stopping their education at the high school level itself, sometimes before.
Discouraging Marijuana Use
The negative effects of consuming marijuana once can linger on for days and even weeks. These effects ensure that the student operates at low mental capacity both in school and at home. Marijuana users themselves report poor outcomes in studies and below-par achievement despite investing the same amount of time and energy that they were investing before. It seems as though a single high can leave lasting effects on a student’s performance.
Several surveys, research studies, and reports have suggested prevention tactics that point to a change in the environment. It turns out prevention and delay in the introduction of marijuana use among young adults is the key to combating widespread marijuana use. To create more awareness and educate the public at large, it is necessary to scale up health prevention. Only awareness can truly fight the high rates of marijuana consumption among youth, which is higher than cigarettes. More the frequency of the usage of marijuana, the higher the chances and greater the risk of less engagement and bad school performance by all students who pursue the drug. These facts and findings of marijuana affecting school students are well researched and well documented in the Journal of School Health of the University of Waterloo.
Marijuana and Its Effects on Sports
Marijuana has never been as accessible or popular as it is now. The legalization process began with the fight for access to medical marijuana that helped with the pain, but the access might have gone a little too unchecked. Debates have sprung up in the sports industry as well. In contrast, marijuana indeed undergoes considerable regulatory review in various jurisdictions globally, both for medical and non-medical approaches. But is it really true that marijuana is a miracle drug? Can it have a significant impact on an athlete’s health and performance in competition? Or do its negative effects exceed its benefits?
The legalization of marijuana in different parts of the US happened due to its promised function of helping manage chronic pain in cancer patients and those with other chronic illnesses. But over time, a lot of myths about the drug also began floating. Researchers have started quashing several of the myths associated with marijuana. Experts in the fields of cannabis, medicine and fitness have listed nine different ways that marijuana could benefit or risk athletic performance. The effect of its consumption largely depends on the method, quantity, and frequency of consumption.
Benefits of marijuana for athletic performance:
- Reduction of Inflammation– One of the most promising benefits of marijuana is to reduce inflammation of joints and muscles. CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, has the anti-inflammatory property that helps to ease inflammation. Fitness experts and yoga instructors regularly use marijuana and recommend its usage to their clients. They find marijuana to be quite a helpful tool to deal with pain and inflammation.
- Ease of Soreness– Combined with its anti-inflammatory property, cannabis is found to lessen pain considerably. It can help relieve muscle soreness from strenuous workouts. It has been proved by various researches that marijuana reduces acute to chronic pains and even muscle spasms. Fitness trainers advocate for therapies based on marijuana for recovery for muscle and relief from pain from injuries. They find the pain mediating, stress-reducing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties of cannabis better than painkillers and opiate treatment.
- Treatment of Muscle Spasms– Athletic muscle spasms and the ones corresponding with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s are well treated by using cannabis. Though there is less scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness on humans, the benefit is assumed because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the compound.
- Improved Sleep – Sound sleep is critical for good fitness and highly beneficial for athletic performance. Studies have proven that inducing sleep by consuming THC not only helps with sleep apnea but suppresses dreams and consumption of CBD eases sleep disorders and fatigue. It also induces relaxation in the body for a restful sleep. Marijuana is a good alternative for conventional sleep medications and helps improve sleep, its duration and decreases stress.
- Better Mental Capacity – Though not proven scientifically for humans, marijuana still finds acceptance among some fitness experts. They claim it helps them to ‘get in’ their zone for workouts. Regular and low consumption of THC reduces anxiety before a major game or match and helps athletes stay calm and focus on training – something that they find it crucial for success in athletics.
Risks of consuming marijuana for athletic performance:
- Damaged lungs – As healthy lungs are vital for strong fitness and the overall performance of an athlete, smoking marijuana can lead to lung damage. When lungs function at reduced capacity, it can structurally hurt an athlete’s performance significantly.
- Impaired Motor Skills – Marijuana, like any other intoxicant, notably impairs motor skills. Its use acutely impairs the process of decision making and motor coordination that affects activities such as driving. Athletics involve a lot of quick, split-second decisions during a game that might cost an athlete their health. Even advocates of marijuana’s healing properties do not support the use of marijuana during physical activities.
- Increased Likelihood of Chronic Depression – Humans wish to ensure that the benefits of using a therapeutic compound outweigh the risks. And one of the risks associated with continued and heavy use of marijuana is an increased prospect of depression. Depression decreases motivation and creates a number of side effects, thus being detrimental to fitness, routine, and motivation.
- Risk of Increased Heart Attack – Strenuous exercising schedule under the influence of marijuana can also increase chances of heart attack for all who have a history of heart problems. It is believed that the attack can happen within an hour of consuming marijuana and rushing through the workout.
Long Term Effects of Marijuana
Negative effects of marijuana on aspects such as learning, memory and attention often last for a long period. Depending on the user’s history of consuming drugs, the effects could last for more than a week after the severe effects have worn off. Hence daily marijuana smokers might function at a lower intellectual level for most of the time.
Research and evidence suggest that nonsmoking students perform better and have higher educational outcomes than their smoking peers. While the role of other factors cannot be ruled out in the negative outcomes of life, marijuana’s use is closely linked to unemployment, criminal behavior, low income, heavy dependence on welfare and below-par life satisfaction. Only further research can ascertain the role marijuana use plays in these associations.
When their judgment is impaired, teens can go from losing their future prospects to losing their lives by driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Despite its numerous health benefits, marijuana is also a risk to health and well-being. It is rated worse than alcohol and tobacco when it comes to judgement impairment. With the legalization of marijuana around the globe, understanding and promoting the risks in addition to its benefits will be critical for the successful transition of youth into adulthood.