Simone Virzi, Staff Writer:
“Mary Jane,” “ganja,” “bud”: whatever someone decides to call it, students broke up into teams and tested their knowledge about the drug at Marijuana Jeopardy, an event which was put together by the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center, located in Schwartz Hall.
This version of the show “Jeopardy” had five categories: Health Effects, Pot 101, Short Term Side Effects, Laws and Treatment Options.
Kacy Lansing and Alli Mariani, who work in the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center on campus, asked students trivia questions about marijuana.
Lansing asked, “What the technical name is for the hemp plant that marijuana came from,” which is cannabis sativa, she said.
Participants were asked questions about THC, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, and is the chemical in marijuana that causes the high an individual gets, said Lansing.
Marijuana users are often affiliated with having the munchies, said Lansing.
According to one flyer given out at the event, “THC has a well-documented tendency to stimulate hunger. Scientists have traced this property to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Marijuana activates these receptors which are involved in increasing appetite.”
Mariani said marijuana can be used by an individual through vaporizers, by smoking, or by eating. Lansing said marijuana affects the respiratory system in the body, and increases the user’s heart rate. Marijuana also affects an individual’s hippocampus, which is the part of the brain area responsible for memory formation.
She also said mental illnesses that can be exacerbated from marijuana use include anxiety and depression.
“If someone has schizophrenia or is bipolar, it can be triggered [by marijuana],” said Lansing.
Mariani said individuals who use marijuana may become paranoid.
“People who use marijuana often have red eyes,” she said. “This is the result of dilating of the blood vessels in the eyes.”
Lansing said marijuana usage can cause an individual to make bad decisions.
“[Marijuana] can affect a person’s education and their relationships,” she said.
Lansing also said forms of treatment for abuse or dependence include rehab and Narcotics Anonymous.
“If you or someone you know is suffering from a problem with marijuana, we encourage you to get help; not to say ‘No, no, no,’ like this British pop singer [Amy Winehouse],” said Lansing.
Withdrawal symptoms for an individual who has been using marijuana for a period of time include depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, irritability and drug craving, said Mariani.
Lansing said the BASICS program at Southern, which is short for Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students, consists of two sessions.
According to Southern’s website, “BASICS is an alcohol skills training program that aims at reducing harmful consumption and associated problems.”
An individual can receive up to seven years of jail time for selling marijuana, said Mariani. Lansing said a second offense under 4 oz. or a first offense over 4 oz. in Connecticut is a felony.
Students were asked to name three of the 15 states that have legalized medical marijuana.
Mariani said some of the states include Alaska, Arizona, Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Rhode Island, Maine and Hawaii.
Brittany McGovern, a resident advisor in Hickerson Hall, helped put the Marijuana Jeopardy event together.
“I liked the fact that it was a ‘Jeopardy’-style event,” said McGovern. “Students get the knowledge without the lecturing.”