Although the drug offers some potential benefits, the debate about its safety and risks is on the rise. Nevertheless, the substance has been legalized in some states in the US, while most countries continue classifying it as a dangerous drug.
Here you will learn how marijuana affects people and whether it is possible to develop an addiction to the drug.
Definition of Marijuana Abuse
Substance abuse occurs when a person smokes marijuana only to induce mind-altering effects rather than following the doctor's direction to reduce anxiety or pain.
In cases when the drug is used recreationally, substance abuse becomes a noticeable problem when a person needs a higher dose of marijuana to achieve the desired effect. This happens when the brain adjusts to the substance and requires more of it to feel high.
As a result, excessive consumption is another red flag of drug abuse onset.
Marijuana has individual effects on people, and some of them might start experiencing negative physiological or psychological side effects after prolonged use. Continuing to smoke the substance despite visible problems is another sign of drug abuse that is likely to develop into an addiction.
Apart from the abovementioned, drug abuse can also be pinpointed when a person neglects private and professional life for the sake of finding the substance.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
The short answer is yes, marijuana is addictive. Despite this, not everybody develops a severe dependence on the drug.
The chemical structure of drugs determines their properties, specifically how much they can impact the brain. Marijuana isn't as addictive as heroin or cocaine, but frequent drug abuse may turn into severe dependence. Although young people who use marijuana don't consider the drug dangerous, the facts show the opposite.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder. Substance use disorder isn't an addiction yet but a form of drug dependence, either psychological or physical.
This means a person wants to stop using the substance but fails to do so. It may be caused by experiencing tough withdrawal symptoms or an intense craving to consume the drug again.
Those people who have already developed a tolerance and dependence on the drug are likely to use higher doses of marijuana and therefore suffer from impaired attention, memory, and learning abilities.
Substance use disorders can be mild, moderate, and high. The severe form is described by an uncontrollable urge to take the drug. As a result, a person cannot function through the day without smoking and this is one of the marijuana addiction symptoms.
What Does Weed Do to Your Brain?
Any drug that is misused for years can diminish brain activity, and marijuana is not an exception.
Marijuana consists of THC, a psychoactive chemical that binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Those receptors are connected to the nerves that are responsible for pain regulation, memory, and mood. Exposure to THC for a prolonged time may impair mental abilities like concentration, reaction, and learning.
As a matter of fact, cannabis use disorder/marijuana addiction may permanently lower IQ by 8 points. This is especially true for people who use marijuana at an early age. Their cognition, memory, and problem-solving skills become limited. However, more research is needed to prove whether these side effects are permanent or temporary.
Synthetic Marijuana Effects on the Brain
To produce synthetic marijuana, a cannabis plant may be sprayed with a toxic substance that can be life-threatening for a human to take.
Consequently, the side effects can be much worse and may include:
Negative Effects of Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana has become an accepted recreational and medical drug in many countries. Although it hasn't been legalized everywhere, it is still feasible to obtain the drug in the countries where the substance is prohibited.
If a person uses weed frequently, there is a high chance of developing tolerance which may turn into drug dependence. Consequently, a severe form of dependence is what is considered a marijuana addiction.
Addressing marijuana addiction at an early stage and going into therapy will increase the chances of successful recovery. There are a number of behavioral and physical signs of marijuana addiction you may notice:
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
The adjustment process may cause a number of symptoms that should pass over time.
Some of the common marijuana withdrawal symptoms include the following physical or psychological problems:
How to Overcome Drug Abuse?
People who responsibly use marijuana to treat symptoms of mental disorders and follow their doctor's directions are unlikely to develop cannabis use disorder.
However, if you or your loved ones have started noticing the signs described above, you should address them as soon as possible.
If your journey started with marijuana as a recreational drug and slowly turned into a living nightmare, Miracles Asia can help. Our addiction treatment program in Phuket, Thailand offers guests marijuana treatment programs for those who are struggling to stop using the drug.