Marijuana refers to the leaves, flowers, and extracts of the plant Cannabis sativa and several closely related species commonly known as hemp.
Marijuana is the most commonly used and abused drug in society. It is also the subject of much debate over the legality and the impact of use in individuals. While legal in Canada, what is being left out of the conversation is the country’s marijuana addiction problems.
The American National Institute on Drug Abuse reports the following:
- Long-term abuse of marijuana can develop into a compulsive behavior or addiction.
- About 9% of those who commonly use or abuse marijuana becomes addicted.
- This number increases among youth to 17% and daily teen abusers have a 20-25% chance of becoming addicted.
- Recent studies have said that daily use of the drug has quadrupled in the United States in the past decade. (NIDA Infofacts on marijuana)
The chief component of marijuana is the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When it is smoked, the THC transfers from the lungs to the bloodstream and is distributed through the body. When THC is introduced into the brain it attaches itself to the neurotransmitters of the brain bringing on sense of euphoria. Heart rate and blood flow also increase with marijuana use. The blood vessels of the eyes expand causing the eyes to have a red appearance.
Side effects of pot smoking are commonly dry mouth, hunger and thirst (commonly known as the “munchies”), and confusion.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF MARIJUANA ABUSE
Symptoms that someone is using marijuana may include:
- Increased appetite
- Bloodshot eyes
- Impaired memory
- Slowed reflexes and impaired motor skills
- Cognitive impairments
- Altered sense of time
MARIJUANA ADDICTION TREATMENT
The most effective approach for marijuana addiction is holistic. While the client lives in a therapeutic community, we use a range of diverse group and individual interventions. The group recovers together with the support of experienced clinicians creating real change and the basis to stay clean and sober for the long-term.
Affordable and effective continuing care is as important as primary care and treatment. Addiction doesn’t occur in a few weeks and the addict needs to keep working on their program of recovery to keep their disease in remission.