All across the UK a new wave of first-year university students have begun to settle in to their routine. Returning students, already having put their first years behind them, know the routine all too well. They will put in the classroom hours as needed, and then spend much of their free time either partying or otherwise enjoying social events. For many of them, cannabis will be a big part of the equation.
As a student, what are your perceptions of cannabis? Are you among that group of students that believes cannabis use is largely harmless? Alternatively, are you the kind of person that understands the seriousness of taking any illicit drug?
Statistics show that cannabis is the second most commonly used drug among students aged 16 to 24. As you might have guessed, alcohol tops up the list. The reality is that alcohol and cannabis use pervades UK universities to a degree that is frightening. Moreover, even with a gradual reduction in the use of illicit drugs since the late 1990s, cannabis use among young people remains a serious problem.
Statistics from the Home Office suggest that as many as 13% of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 use cannabis. Among the larger demographic of 16 to 59-year-olds, cannabis use runs at about 6.4%. The disparity could be linked to any number of different things, including the fact that age tends to make one wiser and more pragmatic.
Older people tend to use the knowledge gleaned from experience to make current and future decisions. Experiences with cannabis may dictate to the older person that using it is not all it is cracked up to be. Any pleasure they may have derived from cannabis in the past is now achieved in other ways.
As for young people, it is a lack of experience and knowledge that causes them to more readily embrace cannabis. You might even know this is true for yourself. Your limited experience leads you to believe that you can smoke or ingest cannabis without any long-term effects on your health. However, that is only because you have not been using the drug long enough to see the manifestation of those negative health effects. Twenty years from now, you will likely have very different thoughts about using cannabis.
Let It Go
Your time as a student will be one of the most important times of your life. There is no logical or viable reason for you to allow this stage of your life to be influenced by cannabis use. We urge you to let it go. You may derive some temporary pleasure by getting high every now and again, but never forget it is still temporary. The potential risks of cannabis use are such that any temporary pleasure you might derive from it is not worth it in the long run.
Sustained cannabis use has been shown to have very measurable effects on the brain, including reduced cognition, memory problems and even paranoia and schizophrenia. When you choose to smoke cannabis, you are also risking many of the same diseases tobacco smokers are subject to. Smoking cannabis can lead to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
Addiction Helper urges you to rethink using cannabis. As a student, you have far too much going for you to jeopardise your future with illicit drugs. Do not believe the lie that cannabis is harmless; it is not. Let it go before it ruins your life. If you need help, contact our 24-hour addiction recovery helpline free of charge. Inform yourself about students and addiction problems from our student addiction guide.