Marijuana addiction isn’t something you typically hear about, as it is thought to be more of a safe, non-addictive, recreational drug. Most people think that it’s a one and done experience, but that all depends on the person taking the drug and in what mindset they take it.
The general debate is that marijuana isn’t a dangerous drug because it’s all natural and grows from the earth, but many people know it’s not always as natural as they would like to think it is. At Enlightened Solutions, we understand that this addiction is difficult for people to admit when so many are telling them it’s nothing to worry about. Marijuana addiction does exist and is a very real thing for a lot of the clients we see; it’s often a “gateway” addiction, since it rarely occurs alone.
Truth: Millions of People are Addicted to Marijuana
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 4.2 million individuals in the United States alone are addicted to marijuana. The numbers we see in recovery for marijuana dependence are small compared to alcoholism or opiates – only about 130,000 people – but it is an addiction nonetheless. When we experience things like substance abuse or addictive behaviors, it can feel lonely, and asking for help is hard. But our Enlightened Solutions team understands the difficulty of going through something like this, no matter what the issue affecting your life may be. We’re here to help you find the right recovery program that will uncover what’s at the core of your addiction and get you back on track to experiencing a life that is peaceful, productive, and enlightening.
Marijuana Affects the Brain and Body
The common argument is that marijuana only relaxes the user, and doesn’t interfere with normal activities or brain function, but it’s been proven that marijuana interrupts the development of the brain’s natural communication pathways. The younger people begin experimenting with and abusing marijuana, the more it will affect the brain; studies have found that teens and children are more susceptible to developing new addictions, as the brain creates synapses and tolerance to cannabinoids. Recent studies show that the long drawn out high experienced with marijuana can cause memory loss, reduced reaction rates when driving or performing any physical activity, and difficulty processing or understanding.
Uses and Why it’s Easily Abused
There are several ways to use marijuana, the most common being to smoke it or make it into an edible form. In the past few years, oil extracts have become more widespread as well. It’s a diverse drug that’s altered and made into hybrid versions; every year there are new strains of marijuana with increased amounts of THC, the active ingredient that creates the high. When people experience a high from smoking or ingesting marijuana, they’re attracted to it because the chemical is a copycat of something already in the body in small doses.
Before experimentation with marijuana to produce highly potent strains, it was known that THC levels were as low as under one percent and as high as four percent. We now have strains of THC being produced in the 70 percent range.
When marijuana is modified, the effects change, and the problem with raising the level of THC is increased tolerance and reduced cognition, coupled with the fact that no one is affected in the same way. It may have seemed harmless at one time, but it’s not just a simple plant anymore – it’s something much stronger that has long-term effects on the brain.
Every Experience is Different and Not Always Pleasant
The effects of marijuana can be much more traumatic than you think. People that take it religiously can have “bad trips” causing:
- Paranoia experiences
- Anxious and depressed feelings
- Increased effects of mental health conditions
- Increased thoughts of suicide
When their reaction rates are slower, people can put themselves in danger or endanger others in the process. Depending on your existing mental state, these drugs can manipulate the mind and make whatever condition you’re trying to avoid worse. Many of the people we work with suffering from marijuana addiction started at a young age and were never aware of a mental health condition, but over time experienced symptoms amplified by marijuana. Since most people assume marijuana is a pleasant experience, they don’t think it could cause serious problems, but it can also bring on alcoholism or an affinity for other drugs just to counteract these social, mental and physical concerns.