Marijuana Addiction

Recently released data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that “30 percent of people who use marijuana have some degree of marijuana use disorder.”

Marijuana is a mixture of the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. Often referred to as weed, pot, ganja or Mary Jane, marijuana is often smoked in rolled cigarettes (joints), pipes, water pipes (bongs) or cigar blunts. The main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, responsible for most of the high, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Over the last few years, marijuana has undergone a renaissance: many states have decriminalized marijuana or legalized it outright. Because of this, as well as older Americans’ recollections of the marijuana that they smoked as teenagers, many people presume that marijuana is absolutely safe and has little risk of addiction.

However, recently released data by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that “30 percent of those people who use marijuana have some degree of marijuana use disorder.” People who use marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder. Four million people in the United States meet the criteria for marijuana use disorder, and less than 10% seek treatment.

Increased use of marijuana can lead to tolerance, and once tolerance occurs, dependence can form as the brain become accustomed to it. Therefore, an individual can go through marijuana withdrawal during a marijuana detox. While symptoms are not physically similar to opioid or cocaine withdrawal, there is still a physical and psychological impact of marijuana detox. Best practices indicate to detox and withdraw in a safe, comfortable setting under the supervision of a medical professional.

Marijuana has been identified as a substance often misused by individuals with co-occurring disorders, either to self-medicate or to aid with symptoms of mental health conditions. Some of the major mental health or psychiatric issues faced by individuals who traditionally use marijuana are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Use or misuse of marijuana can lead to:

  • Impaired memory or memory loss
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased social skills
  • Problems with information processing and executive functioning

If you believe that marijuana is harmless and not a cause for worry, consider the following important information:

  • The average THC (the psychoactive substance in marijuana) content in marijuana in 1990 was just under 4%. In 2014, it had risen to 12%; recent studies have found marijuana with 16% THC content.
  • Ingesting marijuana no longer means simply smoking a joint. Now, it can be ingested as a highly concentrated oil, wax or hash form, which can have up to 80% THC content.
  • 37% of college students have marijuana-related problems.
  • Studies have identified an increased link between marijuana and schizophrenia. A 2009 study concluded that 13% of schizophrenia cases could be averted if cannabis use was prevented.

Marijuana Detox

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