What is Marijuana?
It’s fair to wonder is marijuana a drug and what exactly is it? Marijuana is a drug that is made from parts of the cannabis plant. It is the most widely used recreational substance other than alcohol. It is legal in some states for recreational use and illegal in other states.
It can be used in many ways to obtain the desired effects. It can be smoked, eaten (edibles), applied to the skin, put in teas, smoke the oils, or vaped. The onset of the effects of marijuana can be felt much faster when smoked and slower when eaten or put in a drink.
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Marijuana: The Euphoric Feeling and Relaxation
Marijuana is used generally for a euphoric feeling along with relaxation that many users report. The cannabis plant contains the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. The cannabis Sativa plant is the primary plant that is used for traditional marijuana that is smoked or eaten.
The plant can also produce many other compounds that are considered related to THC. These are called cannabinoids.
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Understanding Marijuana Use
Not all users have a pleasant experience with marijuana. Some report feelings of paranoia, psychosis, anxiety, and panic. This can be related to the amounts taken or the quality of the mixture that is used. Marijuana is widely and readily available. Its use among pre-teens is increasing, with vaping being a major causative factor.
When it is smoked, its effects are almost immediate and can last for several hours depending on the potency smoked. When it is eaten the effects may not be felt for up to an hour.
Effects of Marijuana
Some of the effects of marijuana are listed below:
- increased appetite
- altered sensory perception, more vivid colors, more vivid motion
- happy mood
- altered time perception
- lung damage with prolonged use
- raspy voice, coughing with prolonged use
Approximately 10-30% of marijuana users will go on to develop addiction issues with marijuana use. Some may wonder, is marijuana a drug? And that answer is yes. This rate increases further in people who begin using marijuana before the age of 18. For additional information click here. Marijuana can further affect coordination and body movement. It is a risk factor for motor vehicle accidents.
Risks of Marijuana Use
The risks and safety of marijuana have been debated for decades. There is a misconception that since it has been legalized in some states that it is not as dangerous as once thought. Legal prescription drugs can be abused, as well as other chemical altering substances that are legal (cigarettes, alcohol, etc.). Addiction to marijuana is a very real issue. If you are struggling with the amount or frequency that you use marijuana, we can help.
Continued Heavy Use of Marijuana
Continued heavy use of marijuana has been associated with depression, low motivation, and reduced life satisfaction scores. Its use has also been associated with memory loss, both short-term and long-term. This has been linked to lowered performance in a work environment. If you have noticed marijuana negatively impacting your life, but you are unable to decrease use without cravings, it may be the right time to reach out for help.
Marijuana Overdoses are Possible
Marijuana overdoses are possible and are more commonly seen with edible use. An edible can take up to an hour to feel effects, which is longer than inexperienced users might expect. They may eat more hoping for a faster high only to overdose by accident. Most overdose symptoms are relatively mild and may involve paranoia, psychosis, and hallucinations.
Chronic smoking of marijuana can lead to lung damage, in much the same way as smoking cigarettes. When it is smoked, users inhale the smoke into their lungs, exposing the chemicals to lung tissue for longer periods than traditional cigarettes. Both cigarettes and marijuana contain carcinogenic chemicals. If usage starts in the teenage years, chronic use is a significant risk factor for developing lung injury.
Mental Illness and Marijuana
Are mental illness and marijuana use related? In many people, the answer is yes. Having a mental illness such as depression or anxiety can make a loved one more vulnerable to the effects of marijuana use. At times, marijuana can be used to self-medicate an existing mental health issue. Addiction is linked to past trauma, neglect, or feelings of anxiety.
In many people, abusing marijuana can be a form of self-medicating to treat an underlying issue. Rather than getting healthy help for a corresponding problem, you may have tried using marijuana to cope with challenges or to feel more confident in dealing with another mental health issue. Heavy marijuana use has been linked to increased risk for psychiatric disorders.
Treating both at the same time has been proven to be more effective than treating each individual. At Resurgence, we look for all causes of addiction and any underlying mental health issues. Improving coping skills and anxiety will give new tools for recovery and stability.
Continuing to abuse marijuana is a sign that the user may be attempting to solve another problem. At Resurgence, we are familiar with marijuana addiction and the complicated mental health issues that may also be present. We are here to help unravel the confusing picture of addiction, withdrawal, and untreated mental health issues.
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Treatment for Marijuana Use at Resurgence
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to marijuana we are here to help. At Resurgence, we use an integrated approach to heal and recover. Marijuana treatment is not a short process, but it is possible.
Learning about addiction, treating any underlying issues, and building coping mechanisms other than drug use are learned behaviors that are taught and supported at Resurgence. We will work with you to determine your individual goals of treatment and customize treatment to your needs.
Marijuana abuse requires a team approach including counseling, therapy, and inpatient treatment with a transition to outpatient treatment. We are here to walk through this process with you.
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.
How to Get Help
Resurgence Behavioral Health is available to answer questions or discuss options with you. We have a team of professionals who are dedicated to understanding and healing from addiction. We give hope back to those who are searching for recovery and stability.