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Understanding Marijuana

Marijuana is a derivative of the cannabis Sativa plant. The most common form of marijuana is made from the dried, crushed leaves of the plant.  The active ingredient in marijuana is Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC which is responsible for producing mind-altering or psychotropic effects. 

Since the 1960s, the THC content of marijuana has increased 300 percent.  This increased dosage contributes to a risk of tolerance and dependence.  

Street names for marijuana include Pot, Dope, Ganja, Grass, Mary Jane, Reefer, and Weed.

Different Forms of Marijuana

Typically, marijuana users prefer to smoke the crushed leaves by rolling them up like a cigarette.  The finished product is called a joint or blunt.

Another favorite form of marijuana is known as edibles.  This form consists of foods such as cookies, brownies, or candy that contain THC.  Ingesting these products can cause the same euphoric effects as smoking a joint.

Some people consume a concentrated, resin-like substance derived from the cannabis plant.  Known as wax or shatter, it produces a more intense high than other forms of marijuana.  It can be found as a viscous liquid, a wax-like substance, or a crystalized rock-like material.  The crystal form is vaporized and inhaled.  Butane or isopropyl alcohol are often used when producing the substance, making it more dangerous than other forms of marijuana. 

Medical marijuana is used to help people manage chronic pain or stress.  However, the medical benefits remain controversial topics across America today.  Most people fear that the medical form of marijuana will be abused or get into the wrong hands. Yet, millions of people claim that it works well to relieve their anxiety and pain. 

Legalized marijuana is another controversial issue in the US.  Many states allow recreational marijuana use despite the risks of using the substance for extended periods.  Misinformation. mixed feelings and confusion play a significant role in the controversy surrounding issue.

Effects and Abuse of Marijuana 

As with any psychoactive drug, marijuana use causes mood-altering effects.  Each person responds differently to the drug, but they may experience one or all of the following:

  • A sensation of well-being and happiness
  • Mild hallucinations
  • Increased appetite
  • A decrease in anxiety or stress

The risk of marijuana overdose is low, but the drug is second to cocaine for the number of ER visits due to abuse of the substance.  Most of those ER visits are due to accidents that occurred while the person was intoxicated.

Marijuana Addiction

Most marijuana users deny that the substance is addictive.  Yet, experts agree that people can develop a psychological dependence on the drug.  Addiction is defined as:

“A chronic dysfunction of the brain system that involves reward, motivation, and memory. It’s about the way your body craves a substance or behavior, especially if it causes a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of “reward” and lack of concern over consequences.”

Over time, marijuana addiction can lead to problems in daily life.  This happens because the person often fails to recognize the problems caused by their behavior.  Some individuals may lose their jobs and suffer financial chaos due to excessive marijuana use.  They may also encounter legal issues.

Signs of marijuana addiction:

  • Lack of self-control
  • Increased desire for the substance
  • Inability to stop using the substance
  • Diminished emotional responses
  • Cognitive decline

Another complication of marijuana abuse is that it can lead a person to try other substances.  Hence the name gateway drug.  Studies show that teenagers are using marijuana more than ever.  These teens are more likely to experiment with other drugs and are at higher risk for addiction later in life.

With repeated use, marijuana can cause permanent mental and physical health complications.  Teens are especially vulnerable to suffering permanent cognitive issues.  This effect can result in low performance in school, preventing the child from achieving their full potential in life.  Studies show that people who begin using marijuana around the age of 12 years are twice as likely to suffer mental illness.

Marijuana Combined with Other Dangerous Substances

Although marijuana isn’t considered highly dangerous, the effects of combining it with other substances can be severe.  The most common substance used in conjunction with marijuana is alcohol.  

Alcohol & Marijuana

Alcohol increases the absorption of THC producing a stronger high.  Conversely, marijuana slows the absorption of alcohol.  The effect is evidenced by delayed feelings of drunkenness.  If a person doesn’t know how drunk they are, they will drink more.  

Prescription Drugs & Marijuana

Marijuana combined with prescription drugs can cause dangerous interactions. The Rx drugs that produce negative interactions with marijuana can include:

  • Sedatives (Ambien, Lunesta, Benadryl)
  • Anti-anxiety drugs (Xanax, Valium, Librium)
  • Pain meds (Percocet, Vicodin, codeine)
  • Antidepressants (Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac)

Other prescription drugs such as anticonvulsants and anticoagulants can also have negative interactions with marijuana. 

Anyone who uses prescription drugs should avoid marijuana.  The health potential for health complications is not worth the risk.  Many pharmacists are now cautioning customers about the dangers of combining prescription drugs with marijuana.  They are neither advocating nor discouraging marijuana use.  Instead, the pharmacists understand the potential for harmful interactions.

Marijuana Use Statistics

Below are a few of the many shocking facts about marijuana use in the United States today:  

16.9% 24% 45%
Percentage of Americans who currently use marijuana in 2021. (55 million adults) Percentage of 12th graders who used marijuana in 2021. Percentage of people who admit trying marijuana at least once.

*National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics

Social acceptance of marijuana continues to spread. This is due in part to the legalization of recreational marijiuana in many states.  Furthermore, as medical use of marijuana expands, it is possible that the substances can become more easily accessed by someone who chooses to misuse the drug.  

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Treating marijuana addiction effectively involves addressing the physical and emotional dependence on the substance.  When a person attempts to quit on their own, their attempts often fail. This happens because they haven’t resolved the behavioral aspects of their substance abuse.  

To ensure that a person can successfully resist marijuana use, a combination of treatment methods is needed.  At Cycles of Change Recovery, we offer a comprehensive program that helps a person eliminate the physical craving for the drug while learning how to avoid future drug use.  

Through many years in the field of addiction recovery, we’ve seen more lasting results when clients enter our inpatient program.  With this form of treatment, clients receive care and supervision 24/7 by medical professionals, therapists, and social workers.  Within our secure and comfortable facility, clients can relax in a drug-free environment and focus on healing.

Some of the many components of our inpatient program include:

  • On-site detoxification
  • Group and individual counseling
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Activities and classes 
  • Relapse prevention 
  • Exercise and fitness routines
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Our program also includes the following therapies:

Within this comprehensive structure, we provide a variety of cognitive-behavioral therapies, holistic therapy, and more.  Because each person responds to treatment differently, we will customize a treatment plan that is best suited for their needs.  

Let Cycles of Change Help You Overcome Marijuana Abuse or Addiction

Have you been using marijuana for a long time and can’t stop?  If so, reach out to us at Cycles of Change Recovery.  We understand the complexities of marijuana use and how difficult it can be to quit.  When you enter our program, you’ll find a team of compassionate and skilled professionals who will guide you toward the drug-free life you desire.  

Contact us today to learn more about our unique and effective programs.  One of our representatives will answer your questions and help you create a treatment plan based on your specific needs and preferences.  



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