Marijuana is a drug that is sourced naturally from the Cannabis plant. There are two main active ingredients in Marijuana, THC and CBD, which interact with the Endocannabinoid System by influencing certain receptors on neurons in the brain. This alters the way that different brain cells communicate with each other. THC is the psychoactive component of the drug, the part that is responsible for the high feeling associated with Marijuana. CBD is not psychoactive, in fact it partially counteracts these effects and is believed to have vast medical benefits. Most strains of Marijuana that are used or abused recreationally have been cultivated so that they are very high in THC and quite low in CBD, although there are many strains with different levels of these components. Typically, Marijuana use causes relaxation, euphoria, heightened appetite, paranoia and a dry mouth. Use of this drug has become a controversial topic recently, as certain states have legalized it for medical and recreational use. While many think Marijuana is a harmless substance, it does have addictive properties and excessive use can negatively influence a person’s life. Just like all abused substances, Marijuana affects the reward system in the brain which associates positive reinforcement with use of the drug. This can alter a person’s judgement and decision-making patterns.
While there are many strains of Marijuana, the essential effects of strains that are primarily high in THC are consistent. Use of Marijuana causes euphoria, an uplifting feeling and often laughter for no apparent reason. It also causes an altered perception of time, usually a feeling that time is passing very slowly. Marijuana enhances the senses, sometimes causes dizziness, alters perception of reality, impairs cognition and memory formation and can cause paranoia or anxiety. Like many drugs, it can inhibit coordination as well as a person’s reasoning abilities, which may result in poor or dangerous choices. Marijuana often causes the user to experience a strong sense of hunger that is difficult to satisfy. It also causes the mouth to be very dry and the eyes may become quite red and dry. Smoking Marijuana, especially if use is excessive, can cause a mucus-filled cough or increase the risk of Bronchitis. Abuse of Marijuana can also result in lower motivation and productivity, as well as consistent memory issues.
Although abusing Marijuana is never fatal, using a large amount at once can cause a quite unpleasant experience. The individual may feel as if his or her heart is pounding, feel extreme paranoia, fear and anxiety. Sometimes, perception of reality is so altered that an individual may be confused about what is going on around them or what just happened a second ago. Rarely, people experience hallucinations or delusional thoughts and behavior on the drug. Marijuana use does not commonly create a physical dependence, and the dependence is mild when it does. Psychological addiction to the drug, on the other hand, is very common and can be difficult to overcome. People who use Marijuana in excess are more likely to abuse other drugs that have more serious consequences. After long-term abuse of Marijuana, if the reward system already established in the brain is then activated by a different, more dangerous substance, it is more likely the person will become addicted to the new substance.
It is possible to experience symptoms of withdrawal between usage or after ceasing use of Marijuana. Because Marijuana use does not usually create a very significant physical dependence in the body, the typical flu-like symptoms associated with detoxing from many drugs are unlikely. Unfortunately, after long-term abuse of the drug, it is possible to experience some of these, such as shaking, the sweats and muscle aches. The psychological symptoms, and reverse effects, of withdrawal from Marijuana are more expected. It is common to experience irritability and cravings, depression or anxiety, restlessness and difficulty sleeping. If you or a loved one have experienced any of these symptoms, this could be due to an addiction or substance abuse problem.
In addition to withdrawal symptoms between usage, there are other things that could signify a substance abuse problem with Marijuana. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, pay attention to the signs. Someone who abuses Marijuana may frequently seem out of it or forget things. People suffering from addiction often withdraw or isolate themselves from friends and family or lose interest in things they used to care about or enjoy. There are many resources for people suffering from addiction, such as treatment centers, therapy, groups, sponsors and more. If you are suffering from an addiction to Marijuana, or any other substance, it is never too late to seek professional help that can give you the tools you need.
If you or a loved one need help with an addiction to Marijuana or any other drug, call us and we can help you moving forward.