Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in America. The use of marijuana increases annually in high schools as it is easily available and more than 115 million Americans have used it at one time or another. Even though it is very popular and there are many movements to legalize it, it is harmful. In 2010, marijuana was the second most common reason for drug-related emergencies.
Marijuana itself is just the leaves and extracts of the plant Cannabis Sativa and is known by a lot of names such as weed, hash, pot and others. It is mainly a recreational drug taken because of the sense of euphoria it causes, but it also has many negative effects such as slowed reflexes, increased heart rate, impaired memory, paranoia and an altered sense of time. This happens because marijuana consists of 60 psychoactive chemicals, known as cannabinoids. These go into the brain causing an imbalance in the chemicals already presents there. Smoking causes immediate effect while ingesting it takes about 2-3 hours for the chemicals to work.
The long-term effects of consuming marijuana include:
- Respiratory problems: smoking marijuana is just as damaging as smoking tobacco. Users develop a chronic cough and are more likely to develop lung infections after smoking it for a longer period of time.
- Cardiovascular risk: marijuana increases the heart rate for many hours, this increases the chance of a stroke or heart attack. Someone who already has heart conditions or is prone to them is at a great risk of a cardiovascular event.
- Mental effects: users are unable to perform well on memory-related tasks and there is a decrease in their motivation and interest. It can also worsen schizophrenia in users who already have it.
- Child development: marijuana has a negative effect on the fetus’s brain when smoked during pregnancy.
- Psychological dependence: users tend to crave for marijuana and need to keep using it in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The treatment for marijuana addiction is similar to that of other drugs. There are no special medicines to help treat the addiction. The detoxification process helps rid the body of the residues of the drug residing in different parts. Once the users get the drug out of their system there recovery becomes easier, but during the detoxification process, the addict will have to face withdrawal symptoms. Since the process only takes place in hospitals or rehab centers there will be doctors to help, and medication will be given to ease the pain and reduce the effects.
It is a better choice to join a residential rehab center as an inpatient as it takes the user out of every situation that could tempt him or trigger the addiction. There are therapists and support groups to help with the process. After the treatment, it is recommended that they go to a sober home to help with the transition from the rehab center to living independently again.
If you or your loved one is facing marijuana addiction then please contact your doctor immediately to start the treatment and be on your way to recovery.