Marijuana Information & Addiction Treatment Options?
Marijuana is generally considered a Schedule 1 narcotic with a high potential for abuse and considered a gateway drug to opiates like heroin.
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant.
Short-term effects can include:
- Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory
- Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
- Increased heart rate
- Potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth and throat
- Decreased social inhibitions
- Paranoia, hallucinations
- Impaired or reduced short-term memory
- Impaired or reduced comprehension
- Altered motivation and cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult
- Psychological dependence
- Impairments in learning, memory, perception, and judgment – difficulty speaking, listening effectively, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving, and forming concepts
- Intense anxiety or panic attacks
Long-term effects can include:
- Enhanced cancer risk
- Decrease in testosterone levels and lower sperm counts for men
- Increase in testosterone levels for women and increased risk of infertility
- Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
- Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect
Marijuana addiction is simply an uncontrollable urge to possess and use the drug. Those with an addiction are not able to stop using the drug even if they wish. This addiction has the same characteristics as any other addiction to other drugs including alcohol, tobacco or even caffeine.
Just like any drug, regular use leads to the development of a tolerance for it. This means that you need more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same high. If you need more and more of the drug to get high, you are physically addicted to marijuana.
Scientists believe that marijuana can be especially harmful to the lungs because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and hold it in their lungs as long as possible. Therefore, the smoke is in contact with lung tissues for long periods of time, which irritates the lungs and damages the way they work.
Marijuana smoke contains some of the same ingredients in tobacco smoke that can cause emphysema and cancer. In addition, many marijuana users also smoke cigarettes; the combined effects of smoking these two substances create an increased health risk.
Marijuana Treatment Options
Most treatment programs will not substitute another drug for marijuana, as is done with more physically addictive drugs like heroin. Instead, overall mental health is assessed and carefully monitored. The patient may be encouraged to discuss the reasons that they began to smoke pot, how the drug makes them feel, and their feelings about the treatment program as a whole.
Behavioral interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational incentives (i.e., providing vouchers for goods or services to patients who remain abstinent) have shown efficacy in treating marijuana dependence. Although no medications are currently available, recent discoveries about the workings of the cannabinoid system offer promise for the development of medications to ease withdrawal, block the intoxicating effects of pot, and prevent relapse.
Call us today at 602.346.9142 for more information and please, don’t wait any longer, as things will get worse without treatment.