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Learn More About Marijuana Addiction
Since marijuana is now legal in at least 30 states, we’re learning more about how many people use it. While rare, marijuana use disorder, chronic users are at risk of developing an addiction. The latest data suggest that at least 30% of marijuana users have some degree of dependence. Those who start using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop marijuana addiction than those who start using it as adults.
Marijuana and the brain
Marijuana contains more than sixty psychoactive chemicals called cannabinoids. However, the most abundant of these cannabinoids is THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The amount of THC within the substance will determine the intensity of the high one will feel. Thus, there are many different strains of cannabis with different THC intensity levels.
Marijuana use directly affects the brain — particularly parts of the brain responsible for memory, attention, learning, coordination, emotion, decision making, and reaction time. Heavy marijuana users can have short-term memory and attention problems.
But, marijuana can also have a significant impact on brain development. When marijuana users begin as teenagers, the drug can affect how the brain builds connections between areas necessary for attention, memory, and learning functions. Marijuana effects on these functions can be permanent.
As with any drug, this substance’s constant use and abuse will create an increased tolerance or desire for more to obtain a “better” high. When marijuana is abused, it can alter brain areas responsible for memory, cognition, impulse control, and executive functioning. Over time, heavy consumption of marijuana can cause psychological dependence, leading to depression and anxiety when the individual cannot use it.
There are arguments for the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana as the pro-marijuana community references that alcohol addiction, OxyContin, and other prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax, and Percocet have severe physical consequences in comparison to marijuana use.
Signs of marijuana use and addiction
One of the most significant pointers of marijuana addiction is the insatiable urge to use marijuana despite adverse consequences. The most common signs of marijuana use include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Increased appetite
- Lack of motivation
- Weight gain
- Nervous or paranoid behavior
- Impaired coordination
- Slowed reaction time
- Dry mouth
- Memory impairment
- Lack of motivation
- Impaired judgment
- Distorted perception
- Relaxed state, sleepiness
- Feeling “high” or euphoria
- Slowed or poor coordination
The minutes after someone smokes pot, they’ll feel the first effects of marijuana, and you’ll see them high on marijuana. This means they’re more relaxed, comfortable, and more. As their high goes down, they’ll likely crave junk food and other side effects of weaving off marijuana.
If you notice these signs, it’s an indication that there may be a problem. Being aware of the effects of marijuana can help you detect use and can also be helpful when confronting a loved one about your concerns. Additionally, early substance abuse may lead to various mental health conditions later in life, such as bipolar disorder.
Long term effects of marijuana addiction
Beyond the physical effects on the brain, marijuana use can also result in mental health consequences. THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, can alter the way people process information. Marijuana also causes an increased dopamine release in the brain, giving you the infamous “high” feeling.
However, excessive use or daily use of marijuana can lead to disorientation, anxiety, and paranoia. Marijuana abusers are more likely to develop temporary psychosis and long-lasting mental disorders, including schizophrenia. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana use can lead to depression and anxiety.
South Florida Marijuana Treatment Center
Patients in treatment at Lighthouse Recovery Institute have a variety of services available to them. Patients access case management, vocational development services, a nutritionist, chiropractic and massage services, the gym, and recovery-oriented support groups and events alongside individual and group sessions. We strive to provide services that assist patients in achieving their optimal physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Will Insurance Cover Marijuana Treatment?
Most insurance plans will much of the cost of drug rehab programs. Individual insurance companies each have specific criteria for covering the cost of care. If you or a loved one are considering entering marijuana addiction treatment and are looking to obtain information about your insurance plan or if you want information concerning our flexible self-pay options, call our trained and compassionate staff today.
We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.