A recent study found that more Ohio adults now use marijuana than previously recorded, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
Approximately one in seven Ohio adults say they use marijuana.
From early 2015 through the end of 2016, the number of adults that smoke weed in Ohio increased by 14.9 percent over the previous two years. The analysis was curated by drug policy reform group Harm Reduction Ohio.
“I don’t think these recent stats are surprising [due to] the amount of social media exposure and the myths of marijuana being shot down,” fourth-year liberal arts student Caroline Currie said. “More people are getting to know it better.”
“It’s become legalized in quite a few states for recreational use,” fourth-year architecture student Damian McDaniel said. “You can feel it in the air … change is coming.”
However, as one might expect, smoking weed regularly can affect the daily lives of students, especially those at UC.
While marijuana is generally known to relax one’s muscles, it can actually increase your heart rate. Studies have shown that within a few minutes of smoking weed, your heart rate may increase by 20 to 50 beats per minute depending on your average resting heart rate.
That same report also indicated that smoking weed could be a trigger for a heart attack. As such, if you are planning to smoke, going to the gym may not be the smartest idea. The combination could be fatal.
Unlike cigarettes, however, a recent study found that smoking marijuana does not increase your risk of lung, head or neck cancers.
“It [still] seems risky to me,” McDaniel said. “While there [doesn’t] seem to be physical benefits, I have seen friends become incredibly unmotivated due to their high weed smoking and I don’t think I could risk that.”
Chronic users should be aware that excessive smoking can increase susceptibility to chronic bronchitis, among other conditions.
However, it’s not all bad news. Unsurprisingly to the masses, marijuana possesses some medical benefits as well. For example, marijuana smoking can reduce the risk of stroke.
A University of Texas study found that chronic weed smokers have higher blood flow — and often greater oxygen levels — in the brain. These can prevent blood clots in the brain and thus reduce strokes.
But unfortunately, more research on weed and its effects on the body is necessary and will likely be published as stigmas surrounding marijuana continue to shift.
As Ohio gears up for 14 farms to produce marijuana for medical purposes, the health implications of this plant are important to keep in mind.