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The Truth About Marijuana Addiction – Is Smoking Weed Dangerous?

marijuana addiction

The marijuana debate is all the rage these days. While many people find the drug useful and believe in its healing power, other warn about the negative impact. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug, that contains the chemical compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which changes perception. The effects of marijuana include feelings of happiness, reduced anxiety and increased appetite, hallucinations, and overall, the drug calms the body and mind. 

Marijuana is made from the Cannabis plant and there are various ways to use it. Many people dry it out, roll it into a cigarette and smoke it – which is called joint. People use cannabis in baked food, for example as an ingredient in cookies, also known as edibles. The effect of the edibles is the same as smoking a joint. People also inhale or vaporize resin-like substance made from the plant, known as “dabs” or wax. When used as “dabs”, cannabis produces an intense high. Marijuana is known also for its street names like pot, weed, grass, mary jane, ganja, and dope.

Recognize the signs: 10 Signs you Need Drug Rehab 

marijuana cannabisWhen it comes to marijuana addiction and the effect on the body, researchers can’t get on the same page. Some studies show that when inhaled, marijuana increases the risk of lung cancer and lung diseases. Others praise the benefits of the plant, stating that its compounds prevent lung cancer, and a controlled use can do more benefit than harm.

Marijuana addiction is rare but possible. Only 9% of the people that use marijuana get addicted. This depends on the person’s mental health and stability, habits, and the struggles they face in their everyday life.

1. Can Marijuana Cause Addiction?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term use of marijuana can potentially lead to addiction. Meaning, people that use marijuana for the first time, or people that use it recreationally, have really low chances of becoming addicted. For example, cocaine can get a person addicted at the first try. The psychological effect of marijuana is really strong. Consequently, when people need something stronger, they usually transfer to a heavier drug.

Since marijuana is less addictive than tobacco and other substances, people that abuse it don’t show withdrawal symptoms or show just mild ones. However, if the person develops high tolerance of the drug, they need more marijuana to achieve the same effect. Meaning, withdrawal by itself, is not life-threatening. Some of the symptoms marijuana withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor appetite
  • Constant mood swings
  • Cravings
  • Panic attacks

marijuana addictionBut there are some severe symptoms that marijuana abusers experience after using. For example, the anxiety and depression symptoms worsen after the high is over. Many young people take pot because they can’t cope with their feelings. They face struggles and feel depressed and marijuana makes everything disappear, even for a moment. However, curing mental illness by relying on a substance leads to a habitual use of marijuana. After a while, this can lead to addiction because the person can’t find another way to deal with their mental illness.

2. How Marijuana Affects the Body?

Marijuana increases the risk of heart attack, by increasing the heart rate. This leads to increased risk of other cardiovascular conditions. Marijuana is connected to increasing the risk of lung cancer, because of the toxins that the person inhales. Also, it increases the risk of pneumonia, cold, and another lung disease.

According to a Report on Marijuana and Medicine, by the Institute of Medicine, marijuana’s receptors, cannabinoids, likely have a natural role in pain modulation, control of movement and memory. Also, the brain develops tolerance to these receptors. Among the other, the report shows that cannabis’ THC has a potential therapeutic value for pain relief, nausea control, and stimulation of appetite. However, research shows that a crude THC delivery into the lungs, by smoking marijuana, also delivers harmful substances. Marijuana smoking connects to cells abnormalities in the lungs and increased risk of cancer. But there is still no strong proof that smoking marijuana causes lung cancer like cigarettes do.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns us on respiratory disorders connected to marijuana use.

3. Signs of Marijuana Addiction

  • Tolerance – marihuana addicts smoke or inhale cannabis multiple times during the day. Each dose is stronger than the previous one because the same dose doesn’t produce the same effect.
  • Withdrawal symptoms – mild symptoms that start once the drug leaves the body
  • Inability to Stop
  • Strong Cravings
  • Lose interest in things they love
  • Prioritize staying high 
  • Don’t get involved in social activities
  • Smoking for relaxation can lead to dependency
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • You’ll notice a weird smell around the person, that most of the people describe it as ‘skunk smell’.
  • The person has poor coordination, slow speech and lacks focus.
  • The power of addiction makes marijuana addicts secretive, forgetfull, makes them isolate themselves, and steal.marijuana addiction

Learn more: 30 Signs Your Loved One Struggles with Drug Addiction 

4. Marijuana Legalization

In the U.S., medical marijuana is legal in 25 states. The drug isn’t legal on federal level, but it recently became legal on a state level in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusets, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Washington D.C. Marijuana is legal in other countries in the world, including Spain and Uruguay, with medical marijuana being legal in many other places.

The Dangers of Cannabis

Even though marijuana is used for medical purposes as an oil, when smoked, its chemicals go directly into the lungs, which can result in increasing the risk od lung diseases. The drug can also cause motivational disorders and schizophrenia. On the long run, marijuana causes functional impairment in cognitive abilities. Studies show there is a relationship between IQ loss and marijuana abuse.

Pros and Cons of Free Rehab – Should you Pay for Rehab?

Probably the biggest danger of marijuana is that it’s considered as a gateway drug. When a person starts using drugs, and marijuana’s high is not enough, they transfer to heavier drugs, such as cocaine or heroin.

Marijuana addicts usually don’t take their addiction seriously, thinking that there are much worse drugs that can lead to more serious consequences. This only leads to the known cycle of denial that drives addicts deeper into their marijuana addiction. 

5. Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Overcoming marijuana addiction is not easy. And if you use it for recreation, but start to feel side effects, here are some of the reasons to quit:marijuana addiction

  • You’ll have more energy, feel better and reduce the risk of lung cancer
  • Anxiety and depression are quite common after marijuana use. You can restore your organism and feel happy without having to use pot to make your happy.
  • You’ll restore your social life, meet new people, and stop hanging out with the same people, leave your room and spend your time on something better.
  • You can stop worrying about whether you have enough money to buy pot and spend on something else.

Substance Abuse Evaluation – Why it’s Important and What to Expect

People usually treat marijuana addiction in outpatient rehab. In inpatient rehab, people treat marijuana addiction when combined with a mental disorder. In outpatient treatment, people involve in daily and weekly counseling sessions and learn about ways to overcome the addiction. Also, they use behavioral therapy to learn how to deal with their mental disorder without the drug’s help.

There are many groups that support not only addicts but also their families to overcome the fears and struggles of the addiction. People that abuse or are addicted to marijuana can face difficulties when trying to recover. So they may relapse several times as not being able to cope with their mental disorder.

For more information please call our Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a Free and completely confidential call. We are available 24/7. In many cases, your health insurance company will cover 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now.

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