Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana addiction is viewed differently by most people.  Parents who grew up in the 1970’s, at least those living in the outlying states of the nation, seem to have one thing in common when it comes to marijuana addiction and abuse….they share a lackadaisical attitude where the dangers are concerned.

So, as far back 1213 BC, marijuana has been used for medical purposes (Glaucoma in Egypt).  In 1840 it became mainstream in Western medicine and was used by French psychiatrist, Jacques-Joseph Moreau to treat depression, suppressed headaches, increased appetite and as a sleep aid.  Its medical properties and suitability make cannabis no different than a drug sold over or behind the counter and as such, make it just as susceptible for abuse, prescription or not.

rastastonerDangers of Smoking Marijuana

The behavioral changes associated with heavy marijuana addiction, ongoing problems with learning and memory, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, distorted perceptions are actually the same effects as temporary brain damage.

According to an article in Neuroscience from April 2011, “One of the primary effects of marijuana in humans is disruption of short-term memory. That is consistent with the abundance of CB1 receptors in the hippocampus, the brain region most closely associated with memory. The effects of THC resemble a temporary hippocampal lesion.”

The active ingredient in cannabis is a chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. Ingesting or smoking THC has a plethora of effects, from the psychoactive “getting high” to the physiological relief of pain and swelling. It also acts as both a stimulant and depressant.

Smoking marijuana produces common symptoms shared with drugs that have a higher “perceived danger.”  The brain of an every day, long term marijuana user functions at a reduced intellectual level.  Addicts exhibit compulsive drug seeking because of craving and use despite the obvious harmful effects on social functioning in the area of family, school, work, relationship and recreational activities similar to other “harder” drug abusers.

True, marijuana addiction may not lead to the impairment that causes a violent car accident, or sudden overdose by injection, however it is responsible for many accidents due to the side effect of slow reaction time.  In addition, at the scene of an accident the focus is usually on alcohol as a contributing factor and no one whom I have heard of is being questioned about their pot use before getting in the car.

marijuanadrugdealMarijuana as a “Gateway Drug”

Gateway drugs are drugs or substances whose use is thought to lead to other addictive substances.  Many people have labelled marijuana as the gateway drug that cause users to seek other substances such as cocaine, heroin.  It’s true that many people first began abusing marijuana prior to using other substances.  A shared theory among some of these individuals is that after feeling the effects of smoking marijuana, they were drawn to experience a “greater high” by experimenting with other substances.

Being labeled a “gateway drug,” has removed cannabis from any responsibility as a potentially dangerous drug.  The irony is that when a mood altering substance is demystified as being insignificant in terms of addiction, it becomes exactly what people think it is not… dangerously potent and addictive!

Marijuana Addiction

Though there are plenty who may contest whether marijuana is addictive, there are plenty others who will state that they are addicted to cannabis.  Marijuana abuse affected all facets of their lives. Regardless of marijuana or heroin, real addiction depends on the individual ingesting the substance. Marijuana Anonymous was established in 1989 for individuals that admitted to themselves that were addicted to marijuana.  The program is based off of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • Debbie O-A
    Posted at 11:36h, 03 June Reply

    I couldn’t agree more! Until I found myself dealing with the effects of marijuana use in my teenage son, and how it altered his behavior, I too had a very casual acceptance of it. Mainly because many of the pot users I knew were recreational users and used as college kids but stopped once they “grew up”. With more education and awareness, my opinions have changed dramatically. Any type of mind altering drug use in developing brains is not good. I don’t see how legalizing and decriminalizing it will decrease its use in teenagers. I don’t hear people discussing how marijuana use can demotivate people, especially kids who are supposed to be in their formative, educational, and emotional developmental years. I suspect we will discover in the years to come, all the negative impact of its use. But by then, we will throw up our hands and claim we can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube. “It’s a multi-trillion dollar industry we can’t afford to loose!” We haven’t learned from our battles with cigarette and alcohol usage.

  • Lee W. @ Addiction Blog
    Posted at 00:12h, 04 June Reply

    Marijuana dependence is real. It will be our generation’s Achilles heel. As a former addict, anyone who is in recovery needs to abstain. But I still think there are legitimate medical uses for it’s use. Recreational use will simply open the market for treatment needs.

    • Avi Satz
      Posted at 13:55h, 04 June Reply

      Hi Lee, thanks for your comment. I agree that there are those who may be suffering from a terminal illness or real health condition that may benefit from the medicinal use of marijuana. Unfortunately, these days, it’s so easy for a teenage boy or girl to get a medical marijuana card- one can simply by walk into a clinic and state they have high anxiety and walk out with a card. Hopefully, there will be better procedures/screening processes established to help distinguish the difference from those suffering from true health concerns and who want to smoke pot consequence free. By shedding light on these issues, I hope that readers gain insight and knowledge. I thinking blogs like yours and ours are great places to discuss these issues and raise awareness on marijuana abuse.

  • Debbie O-A
    Posted at 12:36h, 06 June Reply

    Lee and Avi, I agree with both of you. Increased public education is needed when it comes to hot-button topics such as this, and forums like these blogs are an excellent way to promote education and discussion. There are probably medicinal uses for marijuana, but unless it is regarded as a drug treatment, it will not fall under the FDA regulations. Perhaps this is the avenue it should follow? Perhaps it should be treated a drug, with all the research and scrutiny drugs are subject to in order to be licensed?

  • Hale Hunt
    Posted at 03:01h, 11 November Reply

    I was and am a marijuana addict. I couldn’t function without it everyday all day. My thoughts are that as marijuana gets more and more legal and mainstream, there will be more people going to M.A. (Marijuana Anonymous) and/or treatment for marijuana addiction. This is a new road we are following without the proper guidelines to accept that marijuana is addictive. The addiction is not the same a other drugs but the same in the issue of craving.

  • Martha
    Posted at 11:42h, 25 December Reply

    Well said, Hale. I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Bella Dushner
    Posted at 08:36h, 18 April Reply

    There are some instances that I believed that marijuana doesn’t give us a good benefit but only addiction and i am wrong about this. Because I just read an article saying that CBD can be a useful as a medicine. One of my friends told me about this because in his case he’s been suffering from Sciatica for 4 months now. And he will start to use the CBD as a medicine to his sickness. I don’t know if it will work. Any suggestion is highly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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