Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Marijuana is a drug acquired from the cannabis plant. The plant is typically dried out, ground up and smoked (in paper like a cigarette or in a pipe like tobacco). Marijuana also comes in the form of “edibles.” Edibles are foods, such as baked goods and candies, that contain the drug and produce the same effects as smoking it.

Some people consume a resin-like substance concentrated from the plant that produces a far more intense high. This substance, often referred to as “dabs,” may be a viscous liquid, a wax-like substance or a hard, crystallized material similar to hard candy that is typically vaporized and inhaled. Other names for dabs include wax, budder and shatter.

Marijuana is used both medically (in some states) and recreationally. Medically it is used for stress and pain relief and to increase appetite. Recreationally, marijuana is used for its calming effects and to achieve the notorious “high.” Street names for marijuana include: pot, dope, ganja, grass, mary jane, reefer and weed.

Marijuana Effects and Abuse

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that alters perception. Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical compound that causes the drug’s effects. The effects of marijuana may be different for everyone and depend on how it is consumed. Smoking marijuana produces a faster, shorter-lived high than taking it orally. The effects of dabs can be immediate and last for hours due to their concentrated amounts of THC.

The effects of marijuana include:

  • Feelings of happiness
  • Mild hallucinations
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduced anxiety

While there is virtually no risk of overdosing, marijuana comprises the second highest rates (after cocaine) of emergency room visits caused by abusing an illicit substance. These hospital visits are mostly attributed to accidents that occurred when individuals were intoxicated.

Increasing THC Content in Marijuana

The THC content of marijuana has increased as much as 300 percent since the 1960s, which affects marijuana abuse and tolerance. The higher doses of THC in today’s marijuana can contribute to increased intoxication-related risks and an increased risk of dependence.

Addiction to Marijuana

Marijuana addiction can be clinically diagnosed and has a negative impact on the person’s life. People can develop a mental dependence on marijuana in the same way other addictions develop.

Like other addictive substances, marijuana use affects dopamine levels in the brain by decreasing the natural production of the neurochemical. The user’s brain gets reprogrammed to need marijuana just to feel normal. Marijuana use brings the dopamine in the user’s brain back to regular levels, but only temporarily. Wanting to quit using marijuana, but being unable to do so, is a strong indication of an addiction.

There are also risks of using marijuana that can affect someone’s personal life. These risks can manifest into more immediate consequences such as:

  • Legal complications
  • Falling behind in school
  • Having problems at work
  • An impaired ability to learn and remember things

If you have continued to use marijuana despite the negative consequences, you may have an addiction.