Marijuana Addiction and Treatment Information
Despite its medical and/or recreational legalization in several dozen states around the country, marijuana is still a dangerous drug. This psychoactive drug can be harmful to the brain, cause respiratory disease and lead to myriad personal harms.
Marijuana can interrupt the brain’s development and is especially harmful to adolescents. This can lead to a decline in intelligence and damaged memory, even after a teen stops using marijuana. Understanding the risks is the first step toward addiction recovery.
Misconceptions Surrounding Marijuana
As of early 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved or recognized marijuana as medicine. The FDA has approved medications that contain synthetic THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana) to treat nausea in AIDS patients and during chemotherapy.
Although marijuana can be beneficial in some cases, it has drawbacks that many people do not realize. The misconception of marijuana as a harmless drug is dangerous to those who use it, and it has led to millions of people – largely adolescents – struggling with dependence.
While studies show that marijuana is not physically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive. Marijuana alters the mind, leading to impaired judgment, memory loss and time distortion. It can alter the senses, sometimes causing paranoia or anxiety.
Long-term marijuana use can cause breathing and lung problems, as well as brain development issues in young people. Marijuana use while the brain is developing can deteriorate one’s learning and cognitive abilities.
Symptoms of Short and Long Term Marijuana Use
Marijuana does have negative short- and long-term effects on users. It causes physical and mental side effects that can last a few minutes or possibly permanently alter the user.
The short-term effects of abusing marijuana include:
- Rapid heart rate and breathing
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of motor skills
- Increased appetite
- Loss of cognitive ability
Marijuana use can also cause car accidents, as it decreases the driver’s ability to react to situations and avoid collisions. Long-term effects of ingesting marijuana include a higher risk of lung cancer and asthma (if the user smokes the marijuana) as well as decreased intelligence and brain damage, especially if the user’s brain is still developing.
Prolonged marijuana use can cause:
- Memory loss
The side effects of marijuana use can continue even after the user stops ingesting the drug.
Social and Financial Consequences of Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana addiction can lead to long periods of being high, lost productivity and irresponsibility. Overuse of the drug can also ruin relationships with spouses, friends and family members, isolating the user. It can result in the loss of one’s job and, thus, financial difficulties, not to mention legal trouble and possibly prison time.
Marijuana Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Despite a lack of physical dependence, marijuana users can and do undergo withdrawal. Marijuana withdrawal can cause:
- Cravings for the drug
Withdrawal without professional supervision can lead to relapse, or the user may be tempted to turn to other drugs to experience a high.
Adolescents who are exposed early to marijuana may suffer a decrease in the reactivity of the brain’s reward center, which can later lead to a higher chance of using other drugs to feel pleasure. It is important to educate America’s youth on the potential harmful effects of marijuana.
Marijuana Use in the United States
Marijuana use has jumped in recent years due to medical and recreational legalization around the country. This has led to an increase in emergency room visits and marijuana-related harm.
Here are a few national statistics worth paying attention to:
- The number of emergency department (ED) visits involving marijuana use among 15- to 17-year-olds rose by 61 percent from 2005 to 2011. Visits involving males increased more rapidly than those by females.
- In 2014, there were an estimated 22.2 million marijuana users aged 12 and older.
- Also in 2014, there were a little more than 78,000 ED admissions related to marijuana among 12- to 17-year-olds.
With a growing number of states legalizing marijuana use and the perpetuation of myths regarding this drug’s safety, the increasing rates of marijuana use and hospital admissions is not surprising.
Getting Help for Marijuana Addiction
Do not believe that continual marijuana use is harmless. If consistent use of marijuana is affecting your health, personal relationships, finances or work life, it’s time to make a change.
There are marijuana addiction treatment programs all over the country. If you’d like to learn more about a rehabilitation facility that will help you customize your path to recovery and walk with you every step of the way, talk to the admissions counselors at The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches.
Take Recovery Serious and Seek the Professional Help You or Your Loved One Needs! The Treatment Center Is Here to Help Change Your Life and Achieve Sobriety!