20 Dec 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.
Dangers 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.
Marijuana 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!
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.