How Marijuana Addiction Can Happen

Marijuana is the most popular drug used in society today, and 41.5% of the U.S. population over the age of 12 has used it at least once in their lifetime. Marijuana addiction knows no barriers in terms of age, race, sex or social status. Although some states have decriminalized the use of marijuana, from a federal standpoint, it remains a controlled substance.

Marijuana is composed of a mixture of the stems, seeds, and flowers of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant. The primary method of use is smoking it as a rolled cigarette or “joint,” in a pipe, or in a water pipe known as a bong. It can also be ingested orally as a concentrated liquid in tincture form, or by cooking it in food or tea. Typically, the effects of the drug last longer with oral ingestion. Marijuana is known by many names, such as weed, dope, grass, pot, ganja, and hash. There are also trademarked names for its many varieties, including Blue Dream, Northern Lights, etc. Hashish is a highly concentrated resin extracted from the bud of the female plant that is used either in clumps that are smoked alone or added to the pot or as a sticky, tar-like liquid ingested by itself or in beverages.

Although there are over 400 chemicals in a marijuana plant, the one responsible for altering brain function is THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Marijuana growers genetically enhance their plants to increase its levels of TCH, making it even more powerful and addictive.

When marijuana is smoked, THC travels from the lungs into the bloodstream, carrying the chemical throughout the body to the brain. When it reaches the brain, THC binds to specific cannabinoid receptors on the nerve cells that influence pleasure, memory, concentration, coordination, and perception of time. This cellular reaction in the brain’s pleasure centers is what causes the high. THC also binds to the fatty tissues in the body and therefore can be detected in users for weeks after it has been used.

How is Marijuana Addictive?

Part of marijuana’s widespread appeal is based on the misconception that it’s a “safe” drug. Although most people don’t think it’s addictive, nearly 4.3 million Americans are using it at abusive or dependency levels.

Marijuana is a psychotropic drug, the effects of which can be mildly psychedelic. Although the high usually brings feelings of relaxation and sensuous pleasure, users may also experience extreme paranoia and anxiety. It’s also considered a “gateway” drug, which means it often leads to the use of other more dangerous drugs, such as heroin or cocaine.

How Marijuana Influence Addiction Within The Body

In the short-term, marijuana causes reddening of the eyes, burning or irritation of the mouth and throat, suppression of motor control and loss of coordination, distorted perception, and increased heart rate.

Since marijuana contains 3-5 times the level of carbon monoxide than tobacco, it damages the lungs and respiratory tissues, which can lead to chronic bronchitis and even cancer. It also causes an increased risk for heart attack due to its effect on blood pressure and heart rate. Repeated use of marijuana can lead to infertility in females and a drastic decrease in sperm count in males.

Long-term marijuana use causes changes in brain pathways that are consistent with the use of other major drugs. The cumulative effect can impair one’s cognitive abilities, causing memory loss, difficulty concentrating or processing information, and lack of judgment. However, studies have proven that some cognitive abilities may be restored after discontinuing marijuana use.

At Transformations By The Gulf, we understand how marijuana addiction can affect your life. We tailor individual, an innovative treatment that will address your needs – body, mind, and spirit – so you can get your life back on track. Your individualized drug treatment program might include outpatient detox, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy and a wide array of adjunct treatment services designed to ensure you receive world-class addiction treatment and achieve sustained recovery. Call us today for questions (866) 335-2962