Last reviewed: 11/17/2022

Marijuana—also known as weed, pot, grass, herb, bhang, dope, reefer, and other names—is the dried leaves, flowers, stems, or seeds from the plant Cannabis sativa. Marijuana contains many different chemicals, but the main active chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance.

Signs of a Problem with Marijuana

Symptoms of marijuana addiction include:

  • Feeling the need to use marijuana regularly to function normally (daily or multiple times a day)
  • Using marijuana as a stress management or coping mechanism
  • Engaging in behaviors under the influence of marijuana that a person normally would not do
  • Being unable to stop using marijuana when a person tries
  • Spending money on marijuana, even when not having the money for it
  • Making sure to always have some marijuana available for use
  • Engaging in behaviors in order to get marijuana a person normally would not do (e.g., stealing)

Do I Have a Problem?

If you are concerned about your marijuana use, complete an anonymous self-assessment. This short, eight-question tool helps determine if your marijuana use results in lower, moderate, or higher risk. If the results indicate you are at moderate or higher risk, you will have the opportunity to sign up for help examining your behavior in a judgement-free environment (BASICS), or to make an appointment with a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services.

Even if you don’t take the assessment, you can make an appointment to meet with a BASICS provider at Alice! Health Promotion or with a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services to learn more about your marijuana use.

Campus Guidelines and Policies

Columbia Health follows the guidelines and policies set forth in Essential Policies for the Columbia Community on alcohol and other drug use. To comply with federal, state, and city laws, and to promote the health and wellbeing of its community, Columbia has enacted policies on the use of alcohol and other drugs.

All students, faculty, and staff are expected to comply with these policies.

Please also take note of information found in the Columbia Housing Guide to Living, which includes policies and procedures on alcohol and other drugs and the Responsible Community Action Policy.

Guidelines and policies may vary by school, so check with your school for more information.

Medical Marijuana in New York

New York state allows healthcare providers (including physicians, physician assistants, or registered nurse practitioners) to recommend the medical use of marijuana under carefully controlled circumstances. The law provides a carefully regulated medical marijuana program in New York for people with debilitating or life-threating illnesses for which marijuana is likely to have a therapeutic or palliative benefit.

The law allows for only specific types of non-smokeable marijuana.

A patient who has been certified by a healthcare provider to use medical marijuana would register with the New York State Department of Health and receive a patient identification card. Specially approved organizations—such as hospitals or community health centers—would dispense the medical marijuana to registered patients, under Department of Health supervision.

For more information, visit Compassionate Care New York.

University policy on marijuana remains the same. Even if medical marijuana is legalized in the state of New York, and you are a certified patient, you will not be permitted to possess or use marijuana on Columbia University property.

Visit the Go Ask Alice! Marijuana, Hash, & Other Cannabis archives to learn more.