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Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana addiction is one of the most prevalent forms of substance use disorder in the United States. According to recent data, more than 30 percent of the people who abuse this drug end up struggling with addiction. Additionally, if you start taking marijuana during your teens, you would have 4 to 7 times as high a likelihood to develop a substance use disorder as if you started as an adult.

Often, this type of disorder arises due to your ongoing dependence on the drug. This means that you would ideally suffer some withdrawal symptoms whenever you go for a long duration of time without the substance. Read on to find out more:

About Marijuana

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. This is partly due to the fact that many people assume that the substance is not harmful, while many more do not associate it with serious health consequences like addiction.

This drug is derived from the cannabis plant. On the street, it is known by various names, including weed and pot. Marijuana also contains different chemicals that can affect your body in a variety of ways. Chief among them is THC that will cause you to feel intoxicated.

Typically, the cannabis plant is dried out to create marijuana. After that, it is ground up before getting smoked, cooked into edibles like candies and baked goods, and turned into many other forms. All of these varieties of marijuana are similar because they produce the active ingredient in the drug - THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.

However, you may also abuse the resin type of marijuana - which is concentrated from the cannabis plant. This drug can produce an intense high feeling. It is also known as dabs and comes in the form of a hard crystalized material (similar to hard candy), a wax like substance, or a viscous liquid. Dabs is also known as shatter, budder, and wax.

There are many other forms of marijuana, including but not limited to:

a) Cannabis: This is comprised of the dried flowers of cannabis. It is often smoked.

b) Edibles: These are foods that contain marijuana, and which are consumed by mouth.

c) Oils: These include extracts from the cannabis plant that people vaporize, smoke, eat, or mix with alcohol.

d) Topical marijuana: These include patches, lotions, and balms that you can rub on the skin

All of these forms of marijuana affect the human body in unique but similar ways. This is because the strength and duration of the effects they produce will differ based on the mode of administration of these drugs.

According to the DEA - the Drug Enforcement Administration - marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act passed by the federal government. This effectively means that it comes with a relatively high risk of abuse and addiction, and that it has no known medical uses.

Other Names for Marijuana

Although marijuana is not quite as life-threatening as cocaine and heroin, it can cause you to develop a substance use disorder. The drug also comes with many negative health effects that could affect both your body and brain.

On the street, it is known by many names that dealers and abusers use to ensure that people do not know what they are talking about. These street names, which also include other terms used to describe various things associated with marijuana include:

  • 4/20: 20th of April when people smoke the drug to experience its effects
  • 420: The act of smoking marijuana
  • Blunts: marijuana cigars
  • Bongs: water pipes for smoking the drug
  • Bowls: glass pipes used to smoke marijuana
  • Bricks: large, compacted blocks of the drug
  • Bud
  • Budder
  • Dabbing: The habit or action of smoking THC resins
  • Dabs
  • Dime bags: bags of marijuana that is worth $10
  • Doobies: nicknames for marijuana joints
  • Ganja
  • Grass
  • Hash oil
  • Head shops: stores that sell marijuana paraphernalia, such as bongs
  • Herb
  • Joints: marijuana cigarettes
  • Kush
  • Mary Jane
  • Nickel bags: bags of the drug that cost $5
  • Pot
  • Roach clips: Small metal clips that people use to hold on to the end of a marijuana blunt or joint so that they can smoke the drug in its entirety without burning their fingers or hands
  • Roach: The butt of marijuana joints or blunts
  • Shatter
  • Spice or K2: Synthetic marijuana
  • Wax
  • Weed

Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction

Although substance use disorders involving marijuana tend to come on gradually, there are various tell-tale signs that you can use to determine if someone is addicted to this drug. These include:

  • A decline in your IQ
  • An altered sense of time
  • Anxiety
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Continuing to abuse the drug even after you have noticed that it has been causing issues in your life
  • Dizziness when you stand up suddenly
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Fainting
  • Falling
  • Hallucinations
  • Heightened risk of developing certain psychiatric problems
  • Heightened senses
  • Imbalance
  • Impaired judgment
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Learning problems
  • Loss of control over your marijuana use even when you deeply desire to stop taking it
  • Lung problems
  • Memory loss
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Neglecting your family, friends, and other activities so that you can abuse the drug
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Poor coordination
  • Psychosis
  • Relaxation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed reaction

There is also a high risk that you could suffer a heart attack as a result of abusing marijuana. This is particularly true if you take a variation of the drug that is highly concentrated with THC.

This condition is considered to be a medical emergency because it can turn out to be fatal. If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms of a heart attack following marijuana abuse, you should get in touch with 911 immediately:

  • Arm pain
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Neck pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shoulder pain
  • Vomiting

Short and Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Abuse

Abusing marijuana will affect the parts of your brain that are responsible for perception of time, coordination, concentration, memory, and pleasure. The drug can also overwhelm your brain's pleasure system. It is for this reason that you will feel intoxicated when you take it.

Some of the short term effects of marijuana use include:

  • Breathing problems
  • A sense of intense panic
  • Altered sense perception
  • Being unable to maintain coherent conversation
  • Binge eating
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sleep
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Laughing uncontrollably or inappropriately
  • Lung infection
  • Memory loss
  • Paranoia
  • Poor coordination
  • Psychosis
  • Red eyes
  • Seeming confused
  • Skunk-like smell that clings to furniture, bedding, clothing, and hair
  • Talking about things that are unrelated to the conversation at hand
  • Long term effects of marijuana abuse, on the other hand, may include:
  • A drop in IQ levels
  • Addiction to the drug
  • Altered sense of time
  • Chest colds
  • Chronic cough
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Mental health problems
  • Mood swings
  • Psychosis
  • Regular respiratory infections
  • Trouble thinking

If you are a woman of childbearing age and you abuse marijuana, it can also impact your unborn child and/or pregnancy in negative ways. In fact, taking this drug while expecting a child could lead to:

  • Attention problems
  • Brain damage in your fetus
  • Difficulties with problem solving
  • High risk of stillbirth
  • Low birth weight
  • Memory problems
  • Marijuana Overdose

Although it does not necessary cause death, marijuana overdose can lead to some serious side effects. These effects include but are not limited to:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Extreme hallucinations
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Shaking
  • Unease

Even though this condition might not be fatal, it is still important that you get treated as soon as you realize that it is happening. You need to visit a doctor's office, hospital, or emergency medical department soon after noticing that you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of a marijuana overdose.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Apart from overdose, it is possible to suffer withdrawal symptoms after a period of abusing marijuana. These symptoms arise because you have become tolerant and dependent on the effects of the drug. They include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

When you experience marijuana withdrawal, it is a clear sign that you need professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation services.

The Best Options for Marijuana Addiction Treatment

To overcome your marijuana abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction, you should check into an accredited drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. You will typically be provided with the following recovery services:

  • Medically managed detox
  • Therapy and counseling, including group, individual, family, and couples counseling
  • Aftercare programming and planning

It is recommended that you seek help for your marijuana abuse and addiction as soon as you realize that you have a problem with this drug. This is the only way you can overcome this condition.


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