December 28, 2010

Her Campus: Do College Girls Smoke Marijuana

This post qualifies for Baked Life's "Sex Sessions", the space on our site reserved for all things, gender, sex, or nudity related. The article from Amanda First discusses smoking pot from the perspective of a college female. If you read the whole article on HerCampus.com, you'll see that she also points out the downsides of marijuana.

Baked Life isn't one of those site that pretends smoking pot is completely harmless for everyone, so we encourage you to expose yourself to all the info out there. That said some of the warnings Amanda gives about smoking pot are just dumb, so we're not going to post that part of the article here, but you can, as I said before, read it at HerCampus.com.

Marijuana. Weed. Grass. Bud. Mary-Jane. Cannabis. Whatever you call it, you’ve probably seen it, smelled it, or smoked it at some point. Marijuana is, after all, far and away the most commonly used illicit drug in the world, with about 4 percent of all adults consuming it regularly and 0.6 percent on a daily basis. Humans have used the drug as far back as the third millennium B.C. for recreational, spiritual, and medicinal purposes, and in recent years a very public debate on weed’s legality has caused many to question how harmful it really is.

And just as marijuana has pervaded our national culture, so too is its skunky smoke as much a part of the air in our college campuses as the smell of Easy Mac. At my school, weed is so common that the university barely gives you a slap on the wrist for being caught smoking—a violation results in a brief alcohol education class and a mark on your record, while in high school it meant immediate expulsion. But even though it’s all around us, weed is still illegal—and still dangerous in many ways.

But how bad is it, really? HC talks to college girls, both users and non-users and Deb Lewis, Cornell’s alcohol and drug expert, to get the low-down on getting high.

Why do you smoke it?

By now, we’re all past the age of trying weed just to impress the hot soccer player at our first high school party. Girls may have tried it because of peer pressure back in high school, but in college they smoke it for its mind-altering effects—often as much as or even more than the boys. In fact, a 2004 for study showed that girls are trying weed before boys, and generally abusing substances at a higher level.

Marijuana can induce a sense of well-being and relaxation, and often a dream-like state where your mind wanders into fantasies. Unlike tobacco, marijuana is not a pure stimulant, and unlike alcohol it’s not a pure depressant—instead, it’s a mild hallucinogen (yes, seriously) with depressant properties. So if you smoke weed and suddenly have the incredible philosophical insight that the world is one big video game, that’s the THC talking. The effects usually peak in 10-30 minutes and last about two or three hours.

“It relaxes me,” Michelle*, a student at Columbia University, explains. “When I’m having a tough day in school or I’ve just done a lot of work, smoking at the end of the day helps me calm down and improve my mood. It’s like having a few drinks at cocktail hour for our generation.”

How are girls using it in college?

It’s a motif perpetuated by dozens of stoner movies and hundreds of YouTube videos: college boys sitting around a dorm room, smoking from a bong in their boxers and bragging about their sexual conquests. But what about the girls smoking intheir dorm rooms? Weed isn’t just a boy’s club, no matter how much the popular media likes to tell us so. Girls are smoking weed in college in large numbers, and often more than they did in high school.

Nicole*, a junior at Cornell University, observes, “in high school I mostly just experimented with weed, but I’ve found everyone smokes it way more in college. I don’t smoke every day, but it went from an occasional thing in high school to about once a week in college. I don’t just smoke with boys either—my [girl] friends and I smoke together in someone’s room most of the time.”

Some college women, however, feel that their social lives in college actually contain less bong hits than in high school. Rebecca*, a junior at Cornell, pinpoints the sorority system as the cause of her lighter drug use. Joining a sorority skews your everyday social interaction much more toward the X-chromosome, and Rebecca feels the increased girl time removes pressure from boys to smoke weed.

She explains: “Before I joined a sorority I used to smoke pretty regularly, but now my sorority sisters never smoke. When we hang out at the sorority house together there isn’t really an occasion to smoke, and they never want to when we go out, so now I feel like I smoke much less than I did in high school, when guys were in my closest group of friends and we would all smoke together a few times a week.”

Alyssa*, a junior at the University of Michigan, agrees: “I feel like in the Greek system, for girls especially, alcohol is way dominant over weed in the social scene. I never have a night where I smoke weed instead of drink when I go out.”

But the college party scene can bring many more occasions to light up, too, and for the girls who enjoy smoking, the Greek system’s full social calendar can bring even more occasions than usual to smoke. Nicole says, “If you go to a frat party or even a house party in college, you’ll always be able to find someone with weed. In high school that was way harder, because you needed to seek it out yourself or else drive to someone’s house to smoke. ”

So for girls who smoke, and enjoy the effects of it, there will always be a way to find weed around them at college. But for those who choose to abstain, there’s no shame in that, and they can still enjoy a vibrant social scene without it. Alyssa sums it up: “It’s not socially unacceptable for girls to smoke, but I never feel pressure to.”




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