Students speak on the stigma of smoking weed

By Chike Okafor
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Weed is one of the most popular types of drugs teenagers and adults like to smoke, with over 20 million users in the United States. There are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes around what smoking weed or marijuana does to a individual and their body. Here at California State University, Monterey (CSUMB) smoking, or ingesting cannabis in any amount for any reason is illegal.

It has been perceived people who smoke constantly are relaxed, lazy, stupid and are always high. “Stoners” as they are often referred to, are characterized as goofy and slow, as seen in popular culture characters such as Shaggy from Scooby Doo. This is not true because everyone is different from each other and they smoke in different amounts for different reasons. People may also smoke weed for medical reasons. These stereotypes greatly affect the way people perceive weed smokers which creates a stigma surrounding cannabis and its users.

Weed comes from the mixture of the dried flowers of cannabis sativa. Using marijuana can lead to a variety of side effects such as, “dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, numbness, panic reactions, and hallucinations,” according to Webmd. Positive side effects, not including the “high” feeling, are it could be used to treat cancer by giving an appetite to those in chemo therapy, can relieve and reduce inflammation in chronic pain and can reduce the effects of glaucoma.

Although cannabis use is illegal at CSUMB that does not mean students are unfamiliar with the substance. Some students might even choose to partake in cannabis despite the clear campus rules. This has led to CSUMB students having their own thoughts and stereotypes about those who use cannabis.

“I know some people do it as a stress reliever,” said CSUMB freshman Faith Sample. “It is not good for [your] health.” Smoking can put a strain on the lungs as it requires foreign substances to enter into the lungs.

Another freshman, Avalon Surratt, mentioned she didn’t care if other CSUMB students used cannabis, “I don’t care what other people choose to do, I just think that there are healthier outlets.” In regards to the regular stereotypes that weed smokers have been categorized in Surratt said, “ I have never seen any of the stereotypes of people smoking weed [in real life].”

Yukino Yonekawa, a senior and international exchange student said he didn’t mind the stereotypes. When speaking on the stigma and whether or not he minds other CSUMB students parttake in cannabis, he said, “I don’t feel anything. It is like smoking a cigarette. Usually in Japan, they feel bad about it because it is illegal to smoke weed.”

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