Marijuana (also known as weed, pot, grass, herb, bhang, dope, reefer) is the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the plant Cannabis sativa. It contains many different chemicals, but the main active chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance. Users employ various means of ingesting the substance, including:
- Smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints
- Smoked in pipes or water pipes (bongs)
- Smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco
- Eaten mixed with foods
- Brewed as a tea
Adapted from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Signs of a Problem with Marijuana
There are many signs to know if you or someone you know is addicted to a substance, including marijuana. These include:
- Feeling like you need to use marijuana regularly to function normally (daily or multiple times a day)
- Using marijuana as a stress management or coping mechanism
- Engaging in behaviors that you normally would not while you are under the influence of marijuana
- Being unable to stop using marijuana when you try
- Spending money on marijuana, even when you do not have the money for it
- Making sure you always have some marijuana available for use
- Engaging in behaviors you normally would not in order to get marijuana (e.g., stealing)
Adapted from Mayo Clinic.
If you are concerned about your marijuana use, you can complete the anonymous marijuana self-assessment. You can also make an appointment to meet with a BASICS provider at Alice! Health Promotion or a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services to learn more about your marijuana use.
The anonymous marijuana self-assessment is a short, 8 question tool designed to assist students in determining if their marijuana use results in low, moderate, or high risk. If the results indicate that a student is at moderate or high risk, they will have the opportunity to sign-up for BASICS or to make an appointment with a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services.
Campus Guidelines and Policies
Alice! Health Promotion follows the guidelines and policies set forth in Essential Policies on alcohol other drug use. In order to comply with federal, state, and city laws, and to promote the health and well-being of its community, Columbia University has enacted policies on alcohol and drugs. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to comply with these policies. Please also take note of information found in the Columbia Housing’s Guide to Living, including policies and procedures on alcohol and other drugs and the Responsible Community Action Policy. Please note that guidelines and policies may vary by school. Check with your school for more information.
Medical Marijuana in New York
New York has passed a law allowing healthcare providers (including physicians, physician’s assistants or registered nurse practitioners) to recommend the medical use of marijuana under carefully controlled circumstances. When the law goes into effect, it will put into place a carefully regulated medical marijuana program in New York for people with debilitating or life-threating illnesses for which marijuana is likely to have a therapeutic or palliative benefit. The law allows for only specific types of non-smokeable marijuana. A patient who has been certified by a healthcare provider to use medical marijuana would register with the New York State Department of Health and receive a patient identification card. Specially approved organizations — such as hospitals or community health centers — would dispense the medical marijuana to registered patients, under DOH supervision. For more information, visit the Compassionate Care Act website.
The University’s policy on marijuana remains the same. Even if medical marijuana is legalized in the state of New York, and you are a certified patient, you will not be permitted to possess or use marijuana on Columbia University property.
Want to learn more about marijuana? Visit the Go Ask Alice! Marijuana, Hash, & Other Cannabis archives.