Marijuana Abuse and Addiction

Marijuana Abuse and Addiction

Marijuana is the most commonly abused drugs in United States. Especially, after its legalization in certain states, the use has increased even further. It is quite easy to access marijuana as compared to other drugs. The use of marijuana has been known to cause a number of physical and mental side effects. Contrary to popular belief, regular use of marijuana can produce symptoms of dependence. There are some medical uses of marijuana such as pain relief and appetite stimulation but its recreational use is more widespread.

What is marijuana?

Commonly, marijuana is called as ‘pot’ or ‘weed’ and it is obtained from a plant named ‘cannabis sativa’. The leaves, flowers, stem and seeds of this plant are used as a drug. Cannabis is a bushy plant with five-pointed or seven pointed leaves. Marijuana is consumed in a number of forms. The powdered form of the drug is called dried marijuana. Marijuana is also found in a viscous, wax like liquid called dab. This form contains excessive amounts of THC (delta-9- tetrahydrocannabenol), which is the main chemical associated with the feelings of euphoria produced by the drug. Most commonly, the drug is consumed by smoking dried leaves and stems of the plant. Marijuana is also used to make a number of edibles such as brownies, gummies etc.

There are a number of street names given to the drug by its abusers. Some of them include:

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Reefer
  • Kush
  • Ganja
  • Dope
  • Mary Jane
  • Herb
  • Hemp
  • Roach
  • Budder
  • Shatter
  • Puff
  • Bud
  • Grass
  • Hash
  • J
  • Blaze
  • Resin
  • Hash oil
  • Honey oil
  • Wax
  • Dabs

Medical uses of marijuana:

Due to its easy availability, marijuana is most popular street drug. Although FDA has not approved the medicinal use of marijuana yet, it has got some medical benefits and is used for medicinal purposes in some conditions. Some of the potential health benefits associated with marijuana include:

  • Pain relief
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Control of nausea

In some states, using marijuana for therapeutic purposes is legal. The patient is often issued a card that allows him to carry marijuana. Some conditions in which marijuana can be prescribed include:

  • AIDS
  • Glaucoma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Cachexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

Apart from medical marijuana, some states even allow recreational use of marijuana such as California, Alaska, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, District of Columbia and California.

Is marijuana addictive?

Whether or not marijuana is addictive continues to be a controversial topic. Scientific research shows that it is possible to become addicted to marijuana and roughly 30% of marijuana abusers end up developing dependence. The possibility of becoming addicted to it is increased a great deal when its use is started from an early age.

The main chemical present in marijuana that causes addiction is delta-9-tetrehydrocannabinol or THC. When marijuana is smoked, it is absorbed into the blood via lungs. It reaches brain through bloodstream where it produces its effects. The euphoric high produced by marijuana is caused by THC.

Continued use of marijuana is also associated with development of tolerance. Tolerance is the earliest sign of development of addiction. Gradually, the brain becomes habitual of functioning in the presence of THC. When this chemical is not supplied, it fails to functions normally and exhibits a violent reaction termed as withdrawal. At this stage, the patient needs a proper treatment to make a successful recovery. So, marijuana is addictive and National Institute on Drug Abuse also considers it an addictive drug.  However, some people are more likely to develop addiction than others.

Common marijuana drug combinations:

Marijuana is often combined with other drugs to achieve a better and stronger high. Accidental combination is also possible when a patient takes drugs for certain medical conditions and smokes marijuana afterwards.

  • Combing marijuana with benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and valium), alcohol or opioids may result into extreme drowsiness. The person should not drive or get into other potentially harmful situations. If precautions are not taken, results can be fatal.
  • Combining marijuana with diabetes drugs or insulin can be dangerous since it can mess with blood glucose levels. If a person is prescribed marijuana for medical uses, it is important that they talk to their doctor so he can adjust the doses accordingly.
  • Combining marijuana with anti-inflammatory or anti-coagulant drugs can make a person bleed profusely.

Facts and figures on marijuana abuse:

United States has been under a wave of marijuana abuse since 1960s-70s. The number of addicts is only increasing every year. Most of the people who smoke marijuana are teenagers.

  • About 15% of the people treated for marijuana willingly chose rehab.
  • In 2015, 22.2 million Americans admitted having used marijuana in the past month. It showed that it was the most widely abused illicit drug in United States.
  • In 2016, 6% senior high school students said they use marijuana daily.

Marijuana abuse and addiction are serious problems that should be given the importance they need. If a loved one is abusing marijuana, make sure to address the condition before a permanent damage is caused to them by the drug.