The dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant are referred to as "marijuana.” THC and other cannabinoids are found in plants and other compounds. Extracts from the cannabis plant are also possible.
Following alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana is the most often abused drug. It is widely used among young people. Approximately 11.8 million young adults used marijuana in 2017.
Marijuana is smoked in various ways, including joints rolled by hand and water pipes (bongs). Also, people smoke blunts and cigars that have been partly or entirely refilled with pot. Vaporizers are used by tons of people to avoid inhaling smoke. These devices separate the cannabis' active ingredients (including the psychoactive compound THC) and take in the resulting vapor. Individuals inhale the vapor, not the smoke, at this point.
People may eat edibles like brownies, cookies, and chocolates with cannabis or steep it in hot water to make tea. Consuming THC-rich resins through inhaling or ingesting a variety of resins is becoming more popular.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
The physical, psychological, and pleasurable effects on the brain of twenty substances were all considered in a comprehensive study undertaken in 2007 to determine their addictive potential. On a scale of 1 to 3, with 1 being the slightest degree of dependency and three being the most dependent, cannabis scored an average of 1.51, placing it 11th overall, with heroin and cocaine topping the list. Tobacco and alcohol scored higher than marijuana, at 2.21 and 1.93, respectively. At the bottom end of the scale were LSD, ecstasy, and steroids. Marijuana users who begin smoking before the age of 18 have a one-in-six chance of developing an addiction, according to the CDC.
The use of marijuana may lead to problematic use, often known as a marijuana use disorder, which can appear as an addiction in severe circumstances. According to new research, thirty percent of marijuana users may have a marijuana use problem. Adults are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use problem if they begin using the drug before they are 18.
Problems with excessive marijuana use are often followed by dependence, which is marked by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Irritation, mood swings, sleep issues, decreased appetite, cravings, and restlessness are common side effects experienced by regular marijuana users. These symptoms peak in the first week after quitting and may last up to two weeks. It is possible to become dependent on marijuana if the brain adjusts to high drug doses by lowering the production and sensitivity of its endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.
Addiction to marijuana arises when the user cannot stop consuming the drug despite its negative consequences on many aspects of their lives. Addiction estimates are challenged because epidemiological studies of drug use sometimes use dependence as a euphemism for addiction, even though it is possible to be dependent without being addicted. One in four Americans met the diagnostic criteria for marijuana use disorder in 2015, with 138,000 voluntarily seeking treatment for their use.
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Other Problems with Marijuana Use
At the federal level, marijuana remains a Schedule I prohibited drug that has been legalized or decriminalized in some states. Even if it is legal in a particular state, you may still be arrested and penalized for marijuana possession under federal law. A misdemeanor marijuana possession charge may result in a year in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offense.
Memory, learning, and concentration may all be temporarily impaired when under the influence of marijuana. Also, when taken by pregnant or nursing women, it can harm the baby's brain growth and cause other developmental problems. In addition to anxiety and depression, marijuana use has been linked to these emotions. Lung and cardiovascular health might be adversely affected by smoking any substance.
The DEA states that there have been no reported overdose deaths due to marijuana. However, there is no implication that this does not pose a health risk. Edibles, food, or drinks infused with marijuana, represent a more significant risk than smoking cannabis since it takes longer to enjoy the advantages. Users may mistakenly ingest too much, which might lead to poisoning.
For days or even weeks after the acute effects of marijuana have worn off, its adverse effects on attention, memory, and learning may still be felt. Regular marijuana users may be cognitively impaired most of the time, if not all the time. Many studies show marijuana users do worse in school than their non-using peers.
Marijuana as a Gateway Drug?
Marijuana use may be a precursor to the use of other drugs, legal or illicit, and the development of addiction to other substances, according to some research. Other drug use problems, such as nicotine addiction, are commonly linked to marijuana. Only a tiny percentage of those who use marijuana continues to use "harder" substances.
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Mental Health and Marijuana
The link between marijuana usage and mental diseases such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders has been shown in many studies; however, it is not always apparent whether or to what degree marijuana causes these symptoms.
According to recent research, high-potency marijuana users have a fivefold increased risk of developing psychosis compared to individuals who have never used it. The amount of substance ingested, the age at which it was first used, and a person's genetic vulnerability affect this connection.
Another study found an increased risk of psychosis in those who used marijuana as adolescents and had a specific variant of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, which degrades neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine.
According to new research, people who use marijuana and have a specific variant of the AKT1 gene, which codes for an enzyme that controls dopamine transmission in the striatum, have an increased probability of developing psychosis.
Cannabis usage has been shown to cause a motivational syndrome, a condition in which people lack the drive to engage in rewarding activities. There has been speculation that the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating mood and reward, may be responsible for these relationships, but further study is needed to confirm this and understand it better.
Knowing what to do next can be challenging when a loved one struggles with marijuana use. Marijuana use can hurt the lives of users and their families and friends. Wish Recovery can offer help at our private, safe, upscale rehab if you are worried about your loved one or yourself. Call us today. We can support you or your loved one as they start a path to recovery toward a new, brighter future.