Marijuana is a mixture of dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant (hemp). It has many names, such as pot, weed, grass, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, and bud. Hash and hashish are made from the resin of the cannabis plant. It is smoked as joints or blunts (hand-rolled cigarettes or cigars), or in pipes or bongs (water pipes). It can also be infused to make a tea or used in baking cookies or muffins.
Marijuana dependence occurs when a user develops uncontrollable cravings and compulsive behaviors surrounding its use. According to Drugs.Com only around nine percent of marijuana users develop marijuana dependence, but this rises to 17 percent for those who start using it in adolescence, and 25 to 50 percent for daily users.
Many people refuse to believe they can develop marijuana dependence because the drug is so commonly used. Signs of marijuana dependence include tolerance to the drug, and an increasing importance of obtaining marijuana, even at the expense of relationships and other aspects of life.
We provide rehabilitation treatment for all patients. Call Drug Treatment Centers Fairfield at (203) 242-8257.
People who use marijuana as a recreational drug seek a sense of euphoria and relaxation. The drug changes mood and affects thoughts and perceptions and can make ordinary experiences like listening to music more intense and altered.
These effects come from the fact that marijuana is a mind-altering drug. The main chemical that produces these effects is THC (delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol), which is found in the resin in the buds and leaves. The plant also contains around 100 other chemicals called cannabinoids, which are related to THC.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that regular marijuana use in adolescents impairs the connectivity between neurons in areas of the brain involved in memory, learning, and controlling impulses. A New Zealand study found that people who started using marijuana in adolescence lost on average eight IQ points by the time they were in mid-adulthood and did not recover the lost points if they gave up marijuana.
Over-stimulation of the brain’s endocannabinoid system by marijuana can cause changes in the brain that result in addiction and marijuana dependence. According to NIDA, in 2013 4.2 million people in the US were dependent on marijuana.
The major symptom of marijuana dependence is developing a tolerance to the drug, which means the user has to smoke or consume larger amounts to achieve the same effect.
Dependence is also indicated if withdrawal symptoms occur when they try to stop using the drug. Symptoms include irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, mood swings, and poor appetite. These symptoms can last up to two weeks.
Little research has been done on the long-term effects of heavy marijuana use, but they may include memory problems, learning difficulties, and decreased motivation. The risk of lung diseases such as cancer is greater in marijuana smokers because they tend to inhale deeply and hold the smoke in the lungs for a long time to maximize the effects.
There is also a danger of cross addiction, since many people who become dependent on marijuana are more susceptible to developing an addiction to other substances such as alcohol or cocaine.
Treatments for dependence on marijuana are similar to those for other addictions. Most people have been using the drug almost daily for over 10 years and have tried to quit at least half a dozen times before they seek out professional help. It is important to seek professional drug addiction rehabilitation programs for assistance.
Common treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy, and contingency management. There are no specific medications at present to treat marijuana addiction, but prescription medications to help sleep and reduce anxiety are useful. Addiction aftercare can also be useful, as it provides additional support and resources for both patients and their families.
If you or a loved one are seeking treatment to quit Marijuana abuse, call Drug Treatment Centers Fairfield at (203) 242-8257.