The legalization of marijuana makes many addiction treatment professionals uneasy. Here, we get an insider’s look into how recent changes in policy can/will impact the addiction industry as a whole. A timely and important commentary here.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. Over 94 million people in the U.S. have admitted using it at least once. To learn more statistics about who uses marijuana (cannabis), explore this infographic.
The way marijuana is administered determines its onset of effects. Smoked marijuana = seconds or minutes to kick in. Oral consumption of weed = 20-45 minutes to onset. More here.
There is no medical indication for use of marijuana in youth. So how can you tell if your kids is under the influence? We explore here.
A typical high from smoking marijuana lasts about 2 hours. However, psychomotor impairment can persist, even after the initial high effects are gone. More on duration of action and effects of marijuana here.
Marijuana can be used recreationally or medically. More on marijuana’s uses AND its effects on the body here.
Yes, contrary to popular belief you have the potential of becoming addicted to THC. Studies report that THC use can lead to dependence and heavy use can result in withdrawal symptoms when you stop using THC. More on the addictive properties of THC here.
YES. Weed is addictive. In fact, becoming addicted to weed is more common than you may thing. We review how you get addicted to weed here.
Marijuana acts on the cannabinoid receptors of the brain to create psychoactive effects. More on how marijuana works, its uses, side effects, and dangers here.
To date, synthetic weed is banned in certain countries and states. Here we review the top 5 reasons legal weed should be made illegal in all jurisdictions.
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Medical use of marijuana
Marijuana can have potential use for certain medical conditions. For medical use, doctors often choose to prescribe components from marijuana extracts such as medicines Nabilone and Dronabine . Take note that, for medical uses, drugs derived from marijuana are preferred. Using these components from cannabis excludes other harmful compounds found in smoked marijuana. So what can marijuana be used for?
Marijuana can stimulate appetite, which can be useful for patients with anorexia due to nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Marijuana-derived drugs are also used to treat anorexia and body wasting in patients with AIDS. Some doctors prescribe medical marijuana for treatment of certain cases of pain and muscles spasms caused by multiple sclerosis – take note that not all cases responds to marijuana. Medical marijuana is also considered as possible treatment for intractable chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis .
There is evidence that marijuana can be used as a therapeutic aid for certain medical conditions. Marijuana may help relieve chronic pain due to neuropathy, cancer and chemotherapy and major surgery. Animal studies have shown that marijuana may reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease. Marijuana is also studied for its possible uses on conditions including migraines, epilepsy, nervous system tumors and sickle-cell disease.
Recreational use of marijuana
The effects of marijuana are totally unpredictable and possibly long-lasting. The THC in marijuana is oil soluble, and it is absorbed by the fat cells once it enters the body, so a user may test positive for marijuana months after last use. But in general, marijuana is often used for recreation because it alters sense of perception to the environment and consciousness. A person under the influence of marijuana may feel relaxed, sociable and very happy. They may have different sensations to light and sounds. These effects may be immediate, which are the reasons why people use marijuana recreationally.
However, marijuana may not exert these desirable effects after every use. Users may feel paranoid, unable to concentrate and anxious. One of the dangers of marijuana is the risk of acute psychosis. This psychosis caused by marijuana is usually short-lived, but may make the user in danger from his or her surroundings. Marijuana can also increase risk of mental illnesses .
Here are the dangers of recreational use of marijuana related to its different routes of administration:
1. Marijuana ingestion through food (edibles) – Marijuana consumed through edibles seems to have little adverse effects because of its slow onset of effects.
2. Smoking as a joint or pipe – Smoking marijuana produces the fastest effect, often within minutes. However, there are many constituents in marijuana smoke that are harmful to the body, like carcinogens .
3. Vaporizing – When vaporized, marijuana is slowly heated to reach a certain temperature. Marijuana vapor causes fast onset of symptoms without the carcinogens found in smoked marijuana.
What is long term marijuana use?
There is no existing definition for long-term marijuana use. But most medical professionals agree that if you use marijuana continuously for some time, such as six months, you are already a long-term user. Possible adverse side effects associated with long term use of marijuana include:
- altered mood and perception
- bouts of temporary psychotic illness
- increased risk of heart disease
- low IQ and poor cognitive abilities as adults if abuse of marijuana started at teenage years
- lung problems caused by marijuana smoke
- poor and impaired coordination
- poor thinking and problem-solving skills
- possibility of mental illness
- risk of giving birth to babies with developmental problems when used during pregnancy
- suicidal thoughts
It does not actually matter whether you use marijuana on a regular or irregular basis. Using marijuana can bring about dependence or addiction, two conditions that can seriously affect your life . How marijuana addiction develops is still not well understood. Even if you don’t become addicted to marijuana, you might end up having health issues from its side effects.
Prolonged use of marijuana
Prolonged use of marijuana can increase risk of mental problems. Because marijuana acts on receptors in the brain, cognitive functions like learning, motivation, and thinking may be significantly reduced. Impaired cognitive functioning has a negative impact on life, and marijuana addiction treatment may be required to help you stop depending on it just to make you feel normal.
Aside from brain function, using marijuana for extended periods of time can impair your immune system and makes you susceptible to lung illnesses (because of the marijuana smoke) such as bronchitis and colds. Marijuana can also cause abnormal cellular development, formation of lesions in the lungs and the brain. Men who are hooked on marijuana may suffer from lowered male sex hormones, and both sexes may suffer from reduced sexual performance. Long-term marijuana use can also cause personality changes, inability to understand things, apathy and lack of motivation in life .
After marijuana use
If you use marijuana for a long period of time, you can experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to reduce or cut use. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are more common in long-time marijuana users, although withdrawal symptoms may differ by individual. Withdrawal symptoms commonly seen among marijuana dependent people include:
- anxiety or nervousness
- difficulties sleeping
- marked desire to use marijuana
- rapidly changing mood
- reduced appetite
- vivid and strange dreams