Cannabis (marijuana) is one of the most underestimated drugs on the market. It’s a typical substance of abuse, right after tobacco and alcohol. In the United States, cannabis use went up from 4% to 9.5% between 2001–2002 and 2012–2013. At the same time, the prevalence of cannabis use disorder (CUD) skyrocketed from 1.5% to 2.9%. Here, you get to explore the nature of marijuana addiction and its impact on the human body. (1)
Users who take cannabis have around a 10% chance of getting addicted. Roughly 3 in 10 people experience a marijuana use disorder. And the odds of developing it are relatively higher in individuals who start using the drug in their youth and persist with frequent marijuana use.
Using marijuana for recreational purposes for 20 days or more in a month is considered frequent marijuana use. The tell-tale sign of an addiction is compulsive use despite experiencing negative effects. Such as sleep disturbances, mood fluctuations, sweating, loss of focus, etc. (2)
Before you can recognize the difference between marijuana addiction and casual use, it’s important to understand what constitutes heavy use. Marijuana is different from alcohol. Since with alcohol, you can drink it once a week, three times a week, and it could turn into an issue.
And when you get 8 drinks a week, you can get into a heap of trouble. Marijuana is different. In a sense that it is less addictive and less dangerous than alcohol. But, for those who are using it pretty much a couple of times a day, every day, this substance can turn into a problem. (3)
Addiction creates a pattern. Having at least two of the symptoms mentioned below could indicate that your marijuana use is causing you problems. For example, users with a strong desire to use marijuana experience cravings.
They tend to keep using, despite the social, relationship, psychological, and physical repercussions. But, since they’ve developed a tolerance, they need to take more to achieve the desired results. Addicted individuals go through a withdrawal when they run out of marijuana.
They are bent on finding access to a new product. Most of the time, users who abuse the product tend to give up on the activities they enjoyed to use marijuana instead. They take bigger amounts for an extended period of time. And many use it in situations or environments that could put them in danger.
When they do decide to stop using, users need a long time to recover from its effect. So, despite thinking about cutting back, it’s difficult and tricky to pull through. Casual use doesn’t create such profound effects and problems.
The effects of marijuana vary based on its potency and the person’s health state. The more potent the product, and the longer you use it, the higher its THC content and the bigger the effects. Overall, you can expect the product to affect your:
In the long run, and when used regularly, it can alter the brain structure and could lead to memory impairment. Some users experience trouble at school or work. They may not be able to think clearly or learn properly.
Recent research on chronic marijuana users indicates that acute intoxication caused a drastic impairment in working memory. And subjects that took a high THC dose (3.9%), needed a lot more time to finish their tasks. With repeated abuse, it could lead to marijuana use disorder or addiction. So, it is not uncommon for chronic marijuana users to have trouble at work or with their academic studies. (4)
Countless marijuana users are combining this drug with other products. They want to amplify its effect, particularly in a party atmosphere. Combinations, however, can be harmful and trigger an interaction. Combining marijuana with anti-inflammatory drugs, antiplatelets, and anticoagulants could amplify the user’s risk of serious bleeding.
Since your motor skills will already be impaired from the marijuana itself, when you do hurt yourself, it can be difficult to stop the uncontrollable bleeding. Marijuana could also impact blood sugar. So, people with diabetes need to take extra care.
Consult with a specialist to avoid any drowsiness or dangerous situations. Even if this drug is highly accepted, there is nothing wrong with seeking treatment. CUD or addiction can be treated and kept in check. With proper behavioral support, you can stay on the right track. You can get the support you need to manage addiction and dependency.