Marijuana, a drug derived from the cannabis plant, can be smoked or consumed in an edible form. As it is now nearly as socially acceptable alcohol, it is one of the most complex substances to stop using. People who regularly use marijuana may believe it is harmless, but addiction is possible.
Because of marijuana’s legalization in many states and its widespread societal acceptance, many users think they are functioning just fine, and their family members often agree. These factors make it a challenge to know when there is a problem.
TYPES OF ADDICTIONS
Marijuana’s Effect on the Brain
One of the complicating factors of marijuana addiction is that brain’s natural cannabinoid receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, which plays a vital role in normal brain development and function. Of the 85 known cannabinoids in the plant that marijuana comes from, the two most prominent are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and except for the placement of one atom, THC and CBD have the same chemical makeup.
What is THC?
The cannabinoid responsible for most of the psychological effects of marijuana is THC. After THC attaches directly to a specific cannabinoid receptor in the brain, the body recognizes it as a type of naturally occurring chemical.
At this point, THC affects short-term memory, attention, pleasure, motor coordination, thought processes, and the ability to perceive time accurately. The risk of addiction rises with the amounts of THC.
Since THC over-activates the endocannabinoid system, effects include:
- Altered perceptions and mood
- Impaired coordination
- Difficulty thinking and solving problems
- Disrupted learning
- Difficulty recollecting memories
- Decreased appetite
What is CBD?
This chemical is more responsible for the relaxing effects of marijuana and is sometimes known as “medical marijuana.” Although CBD offers less risk of addiction than THC, some CBD products may also contain THC.
Some people may use marijuana to treat undiagnosed mental disorders. Caution when using CBD products is always advised, and evaluation with a trained medical professional is best.
Risk Factors of Marijuana Addiction
The earlier someone begins using marijuana, the greater the likelihood of addiction later on. Heavy users report lower life satisfaction, poorer health, and more relationship problems.
Careers may also suffer due to increased workplace absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover with marijuana usage.
Signs of Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana addiction may cause:
- Preoccupation with marijuana, despite consequences
- Tolerance to the drug that leads to higher doses
- Spending money on marijuana instead of other things
- Skipping work, hobbies, or social activities to use it
- Taking risks while under the influence
- Failed attempts to stop use
- A need to use the marijuana daily or several times per day
Some marijuana users experience intense paranoia and delusions. For others with co-occurring disorders, increased drug use may exacerbate psychotic behaviors.
Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:
- Increased irritability
- Physical cravings
- Extreme fatigue
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- Inability to experience pleasure
Restorative, Natural Sleep is Critical
Developing a consistent sleep pattern can help reset the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Because sleep disturbances often accompany cessation of marijuana use, we offer guidance on healthy sleep to all Hanley Center patients.
Our doctors and psychiatrists help you find your way back to healthy rest without mind-altering substances using meditation and unique sleep hygiene rituals to help achieve this goal.
Origins’ team of multidisciplinary professionals includes physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, master’s level clinicians, and more. This team will evaluate each patient for co-occurring disorders and create a comprehensive treatment plan.
Examples of evidence-based therapies available at the Hanley Center include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Medical care (including medication, when appropriate)
- Psychiatric services
- Case management services
- Family education and programming
- Life skills training
- Spiritual support
Contact Hanley Center at Origins
Hanley Center helps patients achieve lifelong, sustainable, and complete recovery from any form of substance addiction. Sobriety is possible for everyone. Cutting-edge care that enacts real, lasting change means people lead healthier, more confident, and purposeful lives.
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West Palm Beach, FL 33407