Marijuana is a universally popular drug, and the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Despite it being an illegal drug in the U.S. under federal law, many states recently passed measures that permit medical use of marijuana. Though rare, some states even allow recreational use of the substance. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 22.2 million Americans declared to have used marijuana in the past month of the study in 2015. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies marijuana as Schedule I drug, along with heroin, LSD, MDMA, methaqualone, and peyote. This means that marijuana is an addictive substance with a high potential for abuse. For a marijuana addiction treatment center that can help you or your loved one stop using, contact the admissions counselors at Restore Drug Rehab Center today.
The formal name for marijuana is cannabis. The name derives from Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant that the mixture of dried leaves, seeds, flowers of marijuana comes from. There is an extensive list of street names for the drug, but it is most often referred to as weed, pot, ganja, Mary Jane, herb, bhang, bud, loud, and MJ among many others.
Marijuana is classified under several categories of drugs. Effects vary by person and strain of the drug. Out of more than 450 different chemical constituents known to exist in marijuana, there are two main chemicals:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is considered a non-intoxicating chemical in marijuana. It is used for medical purposes. CBD appears to have effects on anxiety and antipsychotic properties.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical that induces psychotic effects and cognitive impairment.
The effects of marijuana vary by strain, and because of this, the drug is considered part of three categories: hallucinogens, stimulants, and depressants. THC produces hallucinogenic effects, which generally alter the user’s perception of reality. Hallucinations caused by marijuana are mild in comparison to other drugs, and distort the perception of time, heightened sensory perception, distorted sense of cognition, and spatial distance.
Stimulants are drugs that affect the mood, increase levels of energy, and heighten alertness. Stimulant effects caused by marijuana can increase feelings of well-being. To most users, marijuana produces euphoria or the state of being “high”.
Marijuana also has the properties of a depressant. Depressants are drugs that affect the mood and have the opposite effect of stimulants. Depressants are used to relieve anxiety, tension, or irritability. Marijuana can cause a state of relaxation. However, some users may experience short-term depression when getting lost in their thoughts.
There are a variety of different ways people use marijuana, other than the standard method of smoking. Marijuana comes in several forms, including edibles, beverages, and even topical creams.
Common ways to use marijuana:
- Smoke – Marijuana can be smoked via:
- Joints – hand-rolled cigarettes containing only marijuana.
- Pipes – Marijuana is placed in a tobacco pipe and smoked.
- Bongs – known as water pipes. Dry herbs are placed in a special container or bowl. During inhalation, the marijuana smoke is filtered and cooled when it passes through water, making it easier to inhale.
- Blunts – the outer layer or wrapping of a cigar. The tobacco leaf paper, also referred to as “blunt guts,” is emptied from the cigar’s casing and replaced with cannabis.
- Spliffs – similar to joints, spliffs use “rolling papers.” The continents of a spliff are part tobacco and part cannabis.
- Drink – Cannabis can be brewed as a tea. This method is popular among those who use for medicinal purposes.
- Eat – When in the form of a dry herb or oil, cannabis can be baked or cooked into food – “edibles.” This method of consumption is often more dangerous than using it in other ways. It takes time for the body to digest the THC in edibles, and therefore, it can take approximately 45 to 60 minutes for effects to occur. It is all too common for people to consume more of the substance if effects do not occur after 20 to 30 minutes because they believe it is not working or was not strong enough. In cases such as this, the person will become extremely intoxicated once all of the cannabis is digested, which can result in overdose.
- Apply on the skin – Oils and creams containing cannabis extracts are applied on the skin. This method is generally for medical purposes, These products do not usually contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive constituent of cannabis. It is for this reason that these are used for medicinal rather than for recreational purposes.
Mixing marijuana with other drugs is dangerous. Using marijuana with muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines, or alcohol can result in central nervous system (CNS) depression. The combination of marijuana with certain antidepressants results in a fast heart rate and delirium. Marijuana can significantly increase drowsiness when combined with antidepressants or other specific drugs, such as diazepam (Valium), alcohol, and codeine.
THC affects the speed of alcohol absorption. Alcohol is absorbed faster when used with cannabis, hence the increased risk of drug poisoning. Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience decreased breathing or heart rate, rapid heart rate, overwhelming fatigue, lose consciousness, or experience other unusual or alarming symptoms. In some cases, marijuana has been linked to suicide, due to hallucinations and anxiety attacks.
Short-term effects of marijuana can include panic, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia, memory problems and loss of sense of personal identity, psychosis, coordination problems and slower reactions, weird behavior, sexual problems in males, euphoria and feeling “high”, heightened sensory perception (like brighter colors, stronger smells), increased appetite, laughter, relaxation, altered perception of time.
Over the long run, effects and consequences of marijuana abuse are not to be ignored. Usually, marijuana users have a decline in IQ over time. The younger are the users when they start using marijuana, the stronger their IQ can be affected. Hence, these people are at a higher risk to stay unemployed or not get a decent job. Others develop impaired thinking, and lose the ability to learn, concentrate, and perform complex tasks. Marijuana users are no longer able to feel good without their drug of choice and have a lower satisfaction of life. Consequently, they start having social problems with family and loved ones, have relationship problems. In time, marijuana users no longer care about the ways to get money for a new dose, and oftentimes get involved in lying and stealing money, and end up with financial difficulties. At the point when they need a dose to feel normal, they have a marijuana addiction. Comprehensive marijuana addiction treatment programs at Restore Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers LA address both the physical and psychological dependence on marijuana, assuring positive marijuana addiction treatment outcomes for our clients.
The younger the user is when he or she starts using the drug, the stronger their dependence will be. Some addicts may start experimenting with other drugs of abuse for new ways to feel euphoria. This puts them at risk for a dependency on a stronger, more dangerous substance.
When a person who is dependent on marijuana stops using, he or she may start to feel anxious or depressed. This may result in co-occurring disorders, which is the situation when a mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression, coexists with a substance use disorder, like marijuana addiction.
It is easy to recognize the signs of marijuana use. Most of the users’ behavior under marijuana effects is caused by the way that the substance affects the brain.
Signs of Marijuana Use:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Appearing overly tired
- Excessive laughing
- Lack of coordination
- Visual hallucinations
- Audio hallucinations (hearing things)
- Secretive behavior
- Often loses track of time
- Talking noticeably more than usual or stops talking altogether
- Seems to be lost in his or her thoughts
- Unable to focus
- Drop in performance at school, work, athletics, or daily activities
The effects of marijuana make those who use want continually achieve that state of euphoria and relaxation. Some may abuse Marijuana in an attempt to hide from day-to-day reality. As soon as the effects fade, the reality comes back, and the person takes another dose of marijuana.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the potency of marijuana sold today on the streets has steadily increased in the last years. Today, the same dose of marijuana has twice as much THC as about twenty years ago. This leads to higher rates of marijuana abuse, rapid tolerance buildup, and increased risk for marijuana addiction. When a person needs to use larger amounts to achieve the same high, it is a sign of a dependence. Any marijuana use disorder develops into a marijuana addiction when the user is no more able to control the use of the substance and continues to abuse on marijuana even though it affects all the other aspects of his or her life.
Marijuana dependency does not have the same severe withdrawal symptoms as other drugs like heroin or alcohol. Regardless, a person who regularly uses cannabis might experience very uncomfortable marijuana withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings to use, irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares or vivid dreams, anger and mood instability, headaches, and loss of appetite. Daily use during a short period of time, such as, for example, two weeks, can cause cannabis withdrawal symptoms. People who have used marijuana for a longer period of time can have difficulties after quitting, as they find it hard to feel “normal” without their drug of choice. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the general state of health, usual doses, and duration of use. However, detoxification from marijuana lasts longer than from other drugs. The reason for this is that THC is stored in the fat cells. Therefore, it takes much longer for the body to completely detox from marijuana. It is very important to find the right marijuana addiction treatment program for your unique needs. Our addiction specialists at Restore Drug Rehab LA will guide you through the detoxification process, and provide you the highest quality of ongoing marijuana addiction treatment.
The most promising programs used in marijuana addiction treatment, especially when a co-occurring mental illness is present, is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, and motivational enhancement therapy. At Restore Treatment Center, we work with you to make sure all the right programs are incorporated into your recovery plan, so that all your needs are met in treatment. The main features of marijuana rehab programs that we provide at Restore Drug Rehab LA:
- CBT is a therapy that helps people to learn to improve their self-control, especially during cravings. This therapy helps to prevent relapse in addicts. It is a form of psychotherapy that also helps address other problems co-occurring with drug addiction and its treatment. During CBT sessions, addicts elicit the positive and negative consequences of continuing the use of marijuana or of relapsing, and many other techniques.
- Contingency management is a therapeutic approach. It implies setting a target behavior for the addict during marijuana recovery, observation of his or her behavior, and rewards at the point if its achievement. Tangible rewards for target behavior, such as abstinence, reinforce the positive behavior.
- Motivational enhancement therapy is an approach that seeks immediate internally motivated changes in marijuana addicts rather than a step-by-step recovery guide. Usually, at Restore Treatment Center LA motivational enhancement therapy for marijuana addiction takes the form of individual treatment sessions with a therapist, but it depends on the specific case. The goal of this approach is to strengthen the addict’s motivation and build a plan for recovery and change. Coping plans and strategies can also be discussed with our professionals at Restore Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center LA.
Besides these programs, marijuana treatment facilities should provide efficient marijuana addiction treatment and detoxification programs. Recovery is the time when the addict’s body should receive all the nutrients and minerals lost due to drug abuse. Restore Drug Treatment Center LA provide Marijuana detox and rehabilitation programs that will supervise the physical and general health condition of the recovering addict.
Marijuana is a complex drug, which affects different people in various ways. Many of its effects and properties have not been studied fully, and this is why it is subject to disputes. Marijuana abuse affects the users’ social and professional life in the short and long term, while marijuana addiction leads to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and it can take months to fully detox the drug from the body. Certified Marijuana addiction treatment can help you overcome the psychological and physical dependence on the drug and give you the strength to get back on your feet. Contact Restore Drug Addiction Treatment Center LA to learn more about the benefits of starting your recovery journey at our facility.