Marijuana (Cannabis)

The use of recreational or medical marijuana (cannabis) in any form, including edibles and extracts, remains prohibited by university policy and federal law. CWRU policies will not change as a result of Issue 2. 

Because the university receives federal funding, CWRU must comply with federal laws regarding the possession, distribution, and consumption of marijuana, which is still a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substance Act of 1970. In addition, CWRU is obligated to follow the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and prevent the illicit use of drugs and abuse of alcohol by students and employees on CWRU property or at university events. 

Health and Wellbeing Information 

How common is marijuana use among CWRU students? 

According to the 2023 CWRU Healthy Minds Survey, 82% of CWRU students have NOT used marijuana in the past 3 months. 

Is it possible to have a bad reaction to marijuana?

Yes. Signs of a bad reaction may include extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting.

Remember that today's marijuana has high concentrations of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol - the major psychoactive component in marijuana). While the marijuana available in the 1990s had a THC concentration of around 4%, the concentrated THC products such as oil, shatter, dab, and edibles that are available today can have a THC concentration of over 95%. High-potency THC (>10% THC) can cause more acute reactions to the drug and faster addiction. 

Are edibles safer? 

Edibles -- Foods or drinks that contain marijuana - can have a stronger effect on the body than smoking marijuana. The time needed to feel the effects of an edible marijuana product will vary based on an individual's metabolism and the THC content. 

Because the effects of edibles are not felt right away -- and could take hours -- people can accidentally consume high levels of marijuana. More information can be found here

How does marijuana affect mental health?

Marijuana have been linked to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. 

Marijuana also affects brain development. When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce attention, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. 

Developing brains - like those in teenagers and young adults, are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of marijuana:

  • Marijuana use, especially frequent (daily or near-daily) use and use in high doses, can cause disorientation, and sometimes unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. 
  • Marijuana users are significantly more likely than non-users to develop temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations, and paranoia), and individuals with frequent use during adolescence may be more likely to develop chronic psychosis (most likely those individuals with a genetic vulnerability). 

Does using marijuana solve sleep issues?

Some people use marijuana to self-treat sleep issues, including insomnia, anxiety, and pain. Research is mixed on its effectiveness. It is best to consult with a healthcare provider for the best approach.

How does marijuana affect memory and learning?

Regular marijuana use can negatively affect the parts of the brain involved in learning and memory and can reduce one's ability to concentrate and pay attention. Studies show marijuana users are more likely to skip class, and frequent users are likelier to have lower GPAs than students who do not use it. 

How does marijuana affect the lungs?

Smoked marijuana, in any form, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels. Smoke from marijuana contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can also lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. 

E-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC can lead to serious lung injury.

How does marijuana affect driving?

Marijuana can slow drivers' reaction time and ability to make decisions, impair coordination, distort perception, and lead to memory loss and difficulty in problem-solving. Additionally, the effects of marijuana can affect a person's decision-making and reaction times, sometimes for more than 24 hours. 

Is it possible to become addicted to marijuana?

Yes, according to the CDC about 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. The risk of developing an addiction increases when individuals start using at an early age, use more frequently, use higher amounts, and/or use stronger marijuana. 

Resources at CWRU

Students concerned about marijuana use should make an appointment with University Health and Counseling Services through to speak with a counselor. UHCS also offers ScreenU Cannabis. This resource can help students identify if they are experiencing negative consequences because of marijuana use. Based on their responses, students will receive non-judgmental feedback encouraging them to think about the choices that may be putting them at risk for harm. It can also provide ways for students to keep themselves and their friends safer. 

More Information

CDC: Health Effects of Marijuana

CDC: Marijuana FAQs