Cannabis, also known as marijuana, pot, hash, weed, grass, and herb among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a mood-altering substance or for medicinal purposes. The word marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word, marihuana. According to the United Nations, marijuana “is the most widely used illicit substance in the world”, despite its legalization or quasi-legalization in a number of states and countries.
What is Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana products are usually smoked, usually in home-rolled cigarettes called joints, but sometimes it’s in a pipe or water pipe. Other marijuana users may cut open cigars, hollow them out and replace the inside with marijuana, fashioning a smokable called blunt. It’s not uncommon for the joints and blunts to be laced with other illegal substances such as cocaine and PCP, completing enhancing and altering the effects of this common drug. But smoking is not the only way to ingest marijuana. It can also be made into a tea or mixed into baked goods like brownies.
The feeling that hooks in a marijuana user is similar to that of alcohol. Within 10-30 minutes of smoking the joint, the user will fall into a sense that all is right with the world and a dreamlike relaxation state that encourages fantasies and makes one highly susceptible to persuasion. A users perception is distorted and it becomes extremely dangerous for the person to drive or operate any type of car, boat or machinery. With stronger doses, the effects come more quickly and more intensely often including hallucinations and paranoia. The short-term side-effects usually fade within 2-3 hours but the drug will linger on in the body for up to 2-3 days. In extremely sensitive blood tests, traces of the drug can still be detected 2-4 weeks later.
Addictions to drugs like Marijuana affect the mind as well as the physical body. When using marijuana, one’s ability to learn, absorb and retain information is impaired for up to 24 hours after last using the drug. Memory skills are diminished as well as math and verbal abilities. It’s also being shown in animals that marijuana can cause permanent damage to the parts of the brain that are needed for memory and learning.
Marijuana is no kinder to the rest of the body than it is to the brain. Chronic smokers of marijuana often fall victim to chest colds, emphysema, bronchitis and bronchial asthma. As with smoking of traditional cigarettes, continued use will damage the lungs and raise one’s risk of contracting cancer. Smoking one marijuana joint can be likened to smoking five tobacco cigarettes. Additionally, this drug can inhibit your immune system from fighting off various infections as well as diseases. In cases of marijuana addiction in children, puberty can be delayed. In addition, it can reduce sperm production in older males. For women who are using marijuana on a regular basis, the monthly menstrual cycles can be disrupted and ovulation decreased. If you’re pregnant and using marijuana, you have increased the risk of giving birth to smaller low weight babies who are susceptible to health problems as infants. These infants may also have developmental problems as they grow from having been exposed to marijuana before birth.
Signs of Marijuana Addiction
Signs that family and friends should watch for, especially in young adults and teens, include bloodshot eyes, hair and clothing that frequently smell of smoke, and marijuana paraphernalia found on them, in their lockers or rooms such as cigarette papers or a bong. Note when their memory seems to be constantly failing or they’ve lost interest in all outside activities with family, old friends or school. They may also have a sudden drop in weight and change in their sleeping habits.
Whether an intervention is called for to force the individual to face his drug abuse or the individual comes to the realization that marijuana addiction is leading them onto a path of no return, help needs to be found. While it’s possible to detox yourself, it’s quite difficult and can result in relapse more frequently than when a group facility is used or professional help. While the withdrawal symptoms from the abuse of marijuana are mild compared to some other drugs, they’re still not pleasant. The recovering individual may become restless, angry, irritable and experience headaches, loss of appetite in conjunction with various cravings. They may also experience depression which will need to be treated along with the drug abuse problem.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment
A tangible and working support system is vital to any individual who is trying to recover from various addictions. A substance abuse treatment program is the best possible scenario for one fighting to become sober again. These programs help reduce the risk of relapse and include complete marijuana abuse and psychiatric evaluations. They also include lab testing, a group therapy† and educational program. Individual counseling is also available for the individual to discuss how he fell victim to the drug in the first place and how he’s going to face the real world without it.† A 12 step program like AA or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) is almost always recommended to the recovering addict. This program will instill a sense of self-responsibility as well as help the addict through the sponsorship program. Someone who has experienced the same problems can assist the recovering drug abuser with readjusting to life without the help of drugs.
Marijuana addiction is very dangerous and can impair your current and future plans. Taking the first step early can lead you away from the drug path and those who would have you stay down forever. Many individuals have overcome marijuana addiction and gone on to lead full productive lives. With help, you or your loved ones can too. But, you must take that first step as soon as possible. Seek the help of a psychologist or therapist as soon as possible. Or, give a call to a substance abuse program that specializes in addictions and drug abuse in people like yourself. You’ll never be sorry that you sought help, only that you never did.