Marijuana Addiction – Overview
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illegal drugs in the United States. Over the years the usage or attitude toward this once called “calming medicine” has remained relatively consistent. Because the negative effects of Marijuana are a slower process many teens and adults alike believe that the habit is, just that a habit, that they can stop at any time. Unfortunately, after just a period of use it can turn into a psychological addiction that is much tougher to kick. Read on for more information about the negative effects and how to tell if you or someone you love is addicted to Marijuana.
Effects of Marijuana
Individuals commonly smoke Marijuana in tools known as a bong, smoked as a joint, or a filled cigar known as a blunt. Depending on the person and their experience with the drug, the effects can be very different. Some people will feel high, relaxed or jittery while others remain relatively unaffected. Most Marijuana users feel an overtaking feeling of hunger and/or thirst. That is the reason that the term Marijuana munchies was born. This high or altered state is generally short lived and the user must smoke again to retain this feeling. There are a relatively small percentage of Marijuana users that experience extreme anxiety, or paranoia, which can be very dangerous because their mental state and judgment is affected. Under the influence can cause physical aggression, clumsiness or increased risk taking behavior. There are many accidents seen in the emergency room every day related to the smoking of Marijuana.
Gateway Drug Scenario
Because so many teens and adults alike believe that Marijuana is not that harmful the usage has remained constant over the past centuries. What these individuals fail to realize is that over a period of time a user must increase either their usage or the potency of the Marijuana. In some cases the use of Marijuana causes the person to become even more curious or feel a greater need to try other drugs. Harder drugs such as Methamphetamine, Heroin, or Cocaine can lead to more physically addictive drugs causing the situation and addiction to worsen. This is what is called the Gate Way drug usage because it is believed that the “pot” usage leads to the experimentation of more illegal drugs.
Knowing Addiction When You See It
Knowing when you or someone that you love is addicted is sometimes very difficult. It is very hard to admit and so many people justify their actions making it even harder. There are however, many signs that can help individual’s asses whether or not that a problem exists. One thing that can be a definite sign is the time of use, consistency of usage and how much the person relies on their Marijuana use. One can safely assume that if a person has been using for many years, they are most likely addicted. This does not mean that someone that has been using for two weeks is not addicted, but the length of time does factor into the equation. The amount or consistency of smoking Marijuana can also help to asses the situation. Someone that smokes every six months socially is likely not addicted since there is such a long time frame in between times. More frequent usage, such as daily use can lead to greater dependence. This is generally because the person uses their drug as a crutch. They need a Marijuana cigarette because they had a bad day, hard test or a fight with their significant other, allowing them to look for a reason to get high. As the emotional dependence develops the individual falls further and further into an addiction. Here are some more things to consider when looking for Marijuana addiction:
- Loss of motivation or drive
- Lack of physical movement or increased sleepiness/drowsy
- Impaired judgment such as inappropriate laughing or emotion
- Reduced concentration
- Repeated attempts to stop or cut down, which failed
- Social reduction or isolation from family and friends
- Justifying usage or becomes defensive about usage
Long Term Effects
Marijuana usage damages many parts of the body. Because it is inhaled it affects not only the mouth, but also throat, lungs, heart, kidneys and reproductive system to name a few. The smoke inhaled can lead to lung cancer, more so than cigarettes. This is because the concentration of carcinogenic hydrocarbons is doubled over the cigarettes. Other troubles such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma have also been linked to Marijuana use. The smoke also places greater stress on the heart and if there is a history of heart trouble or high blood pressure it can be a deadly combination. Usage can also lead to an inhibited production of sperm in the male and ovulation for women, therefore affecting the reproductive system.
Marijuana is a dangerous drug and while many people feel that occasional use will not lead to an addiction, they could not be more wrong. Though Marijuana is not a strong physical addiction like some of the other drugs, it can still be very addictive. In fact many professionals believe that the emotional or mental addiction is as strong as physical addiction.