Puff, puff, pass

When COVID-19  forced college classes across the United States to go online, many  students spent most of their days isolated at home. 

People began to enjoy more of their favorite vices to pass the time. 

According to studies, many began eating more, drinking more alcohol, playing more video games and smoking more weed. 

The 2021 report of an ongoing study on drug use in college-age individuals showed a 44% increase of marijuana usage by college students in 2020, while alcohol consumption decreased in those same students. 

How do Georgia State students compare?

According to a poll, students who did not smoke before COVID-19 continued not to smoke after classes went online and students were quarantined. 

Their reasons for not smoking varied. Several were allergic. 

Some said it made them tired. Some students said they did not smoke because it’s still illegal in Georgia and they were drug tested at work. 

One student said that doctors warned her of the long-term health benefits.

“I don’t smoke at all,” she said. 

“I have friends who are professional doctors who have said that even though [it has[[ health benefits of it for certain issues, long-term use of it is not heavily emphasized by the media that it can cause guaranteed schizophrenia in older age.”

The percentage of Georgia State students polled who said they smoked was on par with the 44% national average. 

Many who only smoked socially decreased their marijuana consumption while  students who smoked frequently tended to increase their daily consumption. 

Alcohol usage was even less common in the students polled.

Some students only smoked on the weekends so that they could focus on school during the week, and some said they only smoked during the week because they worked on the weekends.

Whatever the reasons, marijuana has become more common and socially acceptable in Georgia, especially in Atlanta, even though it still hasn’t been made legal. 

Characters in movies and TV shows based in Atlanta regularly smoke. Some students didn’t even realize that it was illegal.

“I can’t walk down any street in Atlanta without getting a whiff of someone’s weed smoke,” said a Georgia State student. 

“When I walk down the hall to get to my condo, even sometimes when I’m driving in my car, people [smoke] everywhere. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t legal in this state until I heard the news that Georgia maybe passed the law to allow medical marijuana. It’s wild to me that it would still be illegal here.”

A study on marijuana and mental health recently published in the Clinical Psychology Review journal found preliminary evidence that it can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. 

Many students stated that they experienced PTSD and depression due to missing out on many of the milestones often achieved at this stage in their lives over the last two years of online classes.

“I missed prom, I [couldn’t] walk for graduation, and I missed out on getting acclimated into college my freshman year,” said another Georgia State student. 

“It’s been really hard. Weed helps calm me down. It helps relieve the anxiety that I now have when I get in social situations.”

This fact is one of the reasons given in presenting the law to allow the use of medical marijuana. 

These last two years have been hard on a lot of college-age people. As students try to regain a sense of normalcy, a little THC has helped ease them into it for some.