Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs available in the country. With the legalization of marijuana that has taken place in many states, including California, the use of the substance has skyrocketed. Because of its legal status, people often view marijuana as a substance that is safe to consume without consequence. However, while marijuana may now be legal, addiction to the substance is still an issue for many people. Like any addiction, getting help for marijuana addiction is important in order to avoid potentially disastrous consequences.
What is Marijuana?
The term marijuana refers to the seeds, stems, leaves, and dried flowers of the Cannabis plant. Marijuana has been consumed for many centuries and is a psychoactive drug that contains over 500 different chemicals. Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the primary psychoactive compound found in marijuana and is responsible for the ‘high’ feeling one experiences after consuming the drug. Marijuana goes by many different names, including weed, pot, mary-jane, and dope. This drug has become increasingly popular among individuals of any age, though its popularity has particularly increased among teenagers.
Methods of Consumption
There are many different ways to consume marijuana. The most popular and one of the oldest known ways to consume marijuana is by smoking it. The leaves and buds of the plant are ground up and rolled into a cigarette in order to be smoked. Marijuana can also be smoked through hand or water pipes, known as bongs.
Marijuana concentrates are also able to be vaped through apparatuses that are similar to bongs, in addition to handheld vape cartridges. Marijuana is able to be added to food in order to create edibles like baked goods, candies, and teas. This form of consumption can be especially dangerous because it can be difficult to gauge the size of the dose being consumed. Marijuana tinctures are commonly available to consumers, placed under the tongue.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
The short and simple answer is yes, marijuana does have the potential to cause addiction. However, the actual facts of the issue are much more complex. Marijuana may not be addictive in the same way that other drugs, like opioids, for example, are addictive. But that doesn’t mean marijuana users are safe from the potential of dependence and addiction.
Another aspect of marijuana addiction that people often do not consider is the fact that the marijuana available to users today is considerably more potent than the marijuana that was available twenty or thirty years ago. This increases the potential of developing a dependency on the substance.
Physical Addiction vs. Psychological Addiction
Many people note that marijuana does not have the same physical aspects of addiction that many other drugs do. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be mild or nonexistent for some marijuana users who decide to quit. However, users can still find themselves having a difficult time quitting, as many develop a psychological dependence on the drug.
Signs of Marijuana Addiction
Signs of marijuana addiction can vary greatly from person to person. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological in nature and may increase in severity over time.
Physical signs of marijuana use and addiction include:
- Increase in heart rate
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increase in rate of respiration
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth
- An increase in appetite
- Instances of fatigue or increased sleeping
- Problems with coordination, including decreased reaction time
An individual is considered to be addicted to marijuana when they feel they need it to function properly. The psychological symptoms of marijuana addiction may include:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Changes in mood and mood swings
- Giddiness or depression
- Impaired judgment
- Inability to make decisions
- Distortion in sensory perception
- Thinking that may seem random
- Trouble keeping track of time
- Short-term memory loss
- Lack of motivation
Effects of Marijuana Addiction
There are both short-term and long-term effects of marijuana addiction. These effects will vary from person to person, and the severity of the effects can range. The most common effects of marijuana addiction include:
- A decrease in satisfaction with life
- Impaired physical health
- Impaired mental health
- A decrease in productivity at work or school
- Issues with interpersonal relationships with friends or family
- Loss of jobs
- Financial struggles
- Problems with the law
- Difficulties when it comes to learning
- Altered heart rhythms
- Increased chance of suffering from a heart attack
- An increased risk of death from heart troubles in vulnerable populations
- Long-term decrease in respiratory health, including infections and diseases
- Temporary psychotic reactions
Effects of Marijuana Withdrawal
The effects of withdrawal from marijuana can make maintaining sobriety difficult. Most marijuana withdrawal symptoms are psychological in nature, and when these symptoms are severe, they can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s recovery. The most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms from marijuana include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Mood swings
- Lack of appetite
Getting the proper help for marijuana addiction can help individuals avoid some of these withdrawal symptoms and give them the proper coping skills to deal with the unavoidable.
Marijuana and Other Drugs
The effects of marijuana can change if it is consumed in addition to other substances, such as other prescription or nonprescription drugs or even alcohol.
- Sedatives: Consuming marijuana in addition to sedatives like Barbiturates may increase symptoms such as slowed breathing and feelings of sleepiness, which can become dangerous for users.
- Anticoagulants: Marijuana can slow the rate at which blood clots. When taken in addition to anticoagulant medication, marijuana can increase the potential for bruising and severe instances of bleeding.
- Anesthesia: For those that use marijuana, the amount of anesthesia needed during surgery may increase. This makes it incredibly important to disclose to your doctor whether or not you are using marijuana before undergoing any surgical procedures.
- Alcohol: When alcohol is consumed in addition to marijuana, symptoms like drowsiness and mood changes may worsen as marijuana increases alcohol’s effects on the central nervous system.
- Other medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, medications for those who have seizures, and pain medications, can have adverse effects when consumed in addition to marijuana.
If you are planning to consume any addictive or illicit substance with marijuana, or if you are on any prescription medication and plan to consume marijuana, it is very important to speak to your doctor and do your own research beforehand for your health and safety.
Getting Help for Marijuana Addiction in Fresno, CA
Addiction treatment programs are available throughout the country for those who are addicted to marijuana. In cities like Fresno, California, treatment programs are especially common, as marijuana has been legalized in the state. Treatment programs and rehabilitation centers can help clients who are experiencing marijuana addiction by giving them a safe place to detox. Rehab programs also teach clients how to properly cope with their cravings, avoid triggers that may increase their chances of relapse, and deal with relapses if and when they occur. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are available throughout the Fresno area, with inpatient programs being recommended for those who have more severe instances of marijuana addiction. Treatment programs require clients to attend various therapies, including group and individual therapies, which can help address underlying issues that may contribute to drug use and provide clients with peer support from those who are going through similar situations.
Recovering from marijuana addiction is possible. If you or a loved one is dealing with marijuana addiction, the first step towards lasting sobriety is finding help.