The COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter college student’s experiences and impact the way they are feeling. With the end of the semester in sight and feelings of spring fever mixed with pandemic fatigueplus a dash of finals week anxiety looming in the background–it makes sense that students want to unwind a little.  

The added stress of both school and the pandemic may cause some students to feel an increased desire to turn to alcohol or other drugs like marijuana to help relieve feelings of stress and help unwind. But first, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page about what marijuana is with some basic terms. 

Common Terms

Marijuana comes from the leaves of a cannabis plant and contains both CBD & THC. 

The added stress of both school and the pandemic may cause some students to feel an increased desire to turn to alcohol or other drugs like marijuana to help relieve feelings of stress and help unwind. But first, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page about what marijuana is with some basic terms. 

CBD (Cannabidiol), a non-mind-altering compound found within the cannabis plant. CBD is commonly used to help aid anxiety, insomnia with both falling asleep and staying asleep, and chronic pain. 

CBD is regulated in Minnesota and you can find it in almost any formfrom beauty and health products to dog treats. We do not recommend smoking or vaping CBD as it is harmful to the lungs. 

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)a mind-altering compound found within the cannabis plant. THC is the compound in marijuana that causes people to feel high. THC has positive and negative side effects depending on use, how it’s used, and if it’s being used to help treat any underlying health conditions. 

THC is part of the plant that causes controversy as it alters your state of mind; similar to alcohol, which impairs your driving. It has varying degrees of legality across the united states and in other countries across the world. This is better explained with the types of marijuana use. 

Types of Marijuana Use 

Medical Marijuanawhich is different from recreational marijuana, is sometimes used to treat people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s diseasecancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, and chronic pain. Studies have shown that those suffering from these conditions may benefit from medical marijuanaMedical marijuana is prescribed and monitored by a medical professional.  

Recreational Marijuana, which is marijuana for recreational use, is legal in some states across the country, however it is not currently regulated for recreational use in Minnesota 

WSU has a strict drug policy that prohibits students from using, possessing, distributing or manufacturing illegal drugs on campus. For more information check out WSU’s Alcohol & Other Drugs Policy. 

 

Potential side effects associated with marijuana use include: 

Short Term:

Trouble paying attention and learning  

Memory problems  

Increased heart rate 

Disorientation 

Long Term:

Anxiety  

Paranoia & hallucinations 

Increased risk of developing schizophrenia  

Scarring and damage to lung tissues and small blood vessels (if smoked) 

Increased risk of stroke and heart disease 

Although using substances may cause temporary relief, they are not an effective method for dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, or the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Healthy Ways to Alleviate Stress and Unwind 

Get Outdoors

Visit the Lake Lodge Recreation Center and go for a bike ride, walk, or run around the lake. 

Check out more indoor and outdoor rec activities. 

Get Active

Sign-Up for the Gym Buddy Program at the front desk of the IWC. 

Treat Yourself

Watch a movie or tv show episode  

Order your favorite takeout food 

Buy a new plant 

Stay Connected

Reach out to a friend or family member that you haven’t heard from in a while. 

Calm Your Mind

Meditating is a great way to build coping skills that can be used to help reduce stress.  

Read a book. Don’t know what book to read? Check out The Best Books of 2020 

Coloring can help let your inner creativity out. Grab your colored pencils or markers and download one of these sheets: 

Get Help

It’s never too late to ask for help or start developing better coping mechanisms. Consider using these resources to help you stay healthy and happy. 

Set up an appointment with WSU Counseling Services or Health and Wellness ServicesBoth Counseling and Health & Wellness Services follow HIPPA confidentiality rights. 

 

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Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson graduated in 2020 with a degree in Art: I-Design. As a student, she worked with the University Marketing & Communications team as a writer and photographer. She was hired after graduation to support public health communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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