Marijuana is a drug acquired from the cannabis plant. The plant is typically dried out, ground up, and smoked (in paper like a cigarette or in a pipe like tobacco). Marijuana also comes in the form of edibles. Edibles are foods, such as baked goods and candies, which contain the drug and produce the same effects as smoking it.
Some people consume a resin-like substance concentrated from the plant that produces a far more intense high. This substance, known as “dabs,” may be a viscous liquid, a wax-like substance or a hard, crystallized material similar to hard candy that is typically vaporized and inhaled.
Marijuana is used both medically (in some states) and recreationally. Medically, it is used for stress and pain relief and to increase appetite. Recreationally, marijuana is used for its calming effects and to achieve the notorious “high.”
Marijuana Effects and Abuse
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that alters perception. Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound that produces the drug’s effects. The effects of marijuana may be different for everyone and depend on how it is consumed. Smoking marijuana produces a faster, shorter-lived high than taking it orally. The effects of dabs can be immediate and last for hours due to their concentrated amounts of THC.
The effects of marijuana include:
- Feelings of happiness
- Mild hallucinations
- Increased appetite
- Reduced anxiety
While there is virtually no risk of overdosing, marijuana comprises the second highest rates (after cocaine) of emergency room visits caused by abusing an illicit substance. These hospital visits are mostly attributed to accidents that occurred when individuals were intoxicated.
Questions about treatment?
Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.
Addiction to Marijuana
Marijuana addiction can be clinically diagnosed and has a negative impact on a person’s life. People can develop a mental dependence on marijuana in the same way other addictions develop.
Like other addictive substances, marijuana use affects dopamine levels in the brain by decreasing the natural production of the neurochemical. Marijuana use brings the dopamine in the user’s brain back to regular levels, but only temporarily.
There are risks of using marijuana that can affect someone’s personal life. These risks can manifest into more immediate consequences such as:
- Legal complications
- Falling behind in school
- Having problems at work
- An impaired ability to learn and remember things
If you have continued to use marijuana despite the negative consequences, you may have an addiction. Learn more about the symptoms and effects of marijuana addiction.
Marijuana and Other Drugs
Marijuana has long been recognized as a gateway drug because experimentation with it often leads to use of harder drugs like cocaine. This perception is most often related to teen marijuana use because teens are more likely to then experiment with other drugs. As marijuana abuse continues to rise in the United States, teenagers are smoking more than ever. Teens who smoke marijuana are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to other drugs later in life.
Treating a Marijuana Addiction
Some people who have been using marijuana frequently over a long period of time struggle to stop using on their own. Just like any other addiction, asking for help is the most fastest way to quit. Treatment options are generally as simple as visiting a support group or following the guidance of a counselor. Get in touch with us now to learn more.