Between medical and recreational use, debates over safety, and changing legalities in different states, marijuana causes a lot of questions. Fewer and fewer people see marijuana as a dangerous drug. While marijuana may not have the same dangers as certain other drugs, it’s not completely risk-free. People who use marijuana, especially those who use it regularly without medical cause, can get caught up in the dangers.

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What is Marijuana?

Marijuana comes from the leaves and other parts of the cannabis plant, and its use is almost as old as history itself. Smoking is one of the most common forms of marijuana consumption. Another common method is eating “edibles,” or marijuana that has been baked or cooked into brownies, cookies, or candy. Some people prefer to inhale the vapors that come from heating the substance through a hookah or a water pipe. Others brew the drug into a tea.

No matter the method of consumption, marijuana produces the same effect: a euphoric “high” feeling in its users. Marijuana users have noted different feelings depending on which strain of the cannabis plant they consume. The cannabis indica plant causes a more relaxed high, while the cannabis sativa plant causes a more energetic high.

Though most people who use marijuana do so recreationally, some use it for medical purposes. In states with legalized medical marijuana, a doctor can prescribe it as a legitimate medication. However, many have used the drug to self-medicate without doctor supervision – a practice that comes with increased risk.

People who begin using marijuana before age eighteen are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a marijuana use disorder.

Is Marijuana Addictive

In spite of what many people think, marijuana does indeed have addictive properties. Of course, marijuana does not come with the near-instant addiction that comes with drugs such as meth or heroin. However, one shouldn’t rule out the possibility of marijuana addiction. Marijuana users can experience dependence. At first, people try marijuana to get high. With repeated use, however, the body gets used to the substance and starts to crave more. Users eventually need the drug not to feel high, but to feel like a normal, functioning person. Without the drug, a person experiencing dependence might feel sick or moody. Dependence turns into addiction when it starts to interfere with a person’s life. An addicted person might think about marijuana throughout the day, consume the drug at inappropriate times, and interrupt time with friends and family to get more marijuana.

Is marijuana addiction common? It’s more common than people realize. In fact, one 2016 study found that almost 6 million people suffered from a marijuana use disorder that year. In addition, many people who finally seek treatment for marijuana use have previously tried and failed to quit on their own several times. This fact indicates that marijuana is, in fact, addictive.

2.5% of adults experienced a marijuana use disorder in 2016.

If you’re addicted to marijuana, or someone you love might be addicted, call Rehab Info at 800-492-QUIT today.

Short Term and Long Term Dangers

Marijuana use comes with several short-term dangers, including:

  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

The likelihood that one will experience these issues increases with prolonged use or large doses. Edibles are especially dangerous for this reason. While smoking marijuana causes the substance to enter a person’s bloodstream within a few minutes, edibles can take up to an hour to reach their full effect. Some people consume edibles, mistakenly assume that they haven’t eaten enough to get high, and then consume even more. This pattern can lead to dangerous levels of marijuana in the bloodstream.

In the long term, habitual marijuana users can experience brain changes, including a lowered IQ. This issue is most prevalent in those who started using marijuana during their teen years. Studies have shown that these brain changes cannot be reversed even after quitting marijuana.

Rehab for Chronic Use

Those who have developed an addiction or dependence on marijuana can participate in drug rehabilitation programs. Inpatient programs allow participants to live at the rehab facility for 30, 60, or 90 days. Some of these programs are government-owned and house patients at little to no cost. Others are privately-owned and have different price ranges. These programs offer group therapy, individual therapy, and different forms of recreation.

Outpatient programs last longer than inpatient programs, but participants live at home while completing the program. These programs are often less structured. However, like inpatient rehab centers, outpatient programs offer group and individual therapy, and they come in a range of prices for participation.

Other Forms of Treatment

For people with addictions, treatment doesn’t end when the rehab program ends. After rehab, an individual should continue to seek therapy. Different types of therapy such as talk therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help the individual understand what caused the addiction and how he or she can deal with triggers. Recovery is a lifelong process, and a dedicated therapist can help a patient find continued success.

Where to Start

Marijuana addiction can be especially confusing when society wants to tell you that your addiction doesn’t exist. When you look for rehab programs, you want to be heard and understood. At Rehab Info, we’re here to listen.

We’re also here to help you find programs that will address your

addiction with compassion and help you in your recovery. Start by calling 800-492-QUIT today.
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