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Marijuana is the dried leaves, flowers, stem and seeds of the plant Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. It is known by a number of street names like pot, herb, grass, bud, Mary Jane and so on. The principal psychoactive or mind-altering substance present in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC produces the intoxicating effects sought by millions of people. The chemical is extracted from the resin obtained from the buds and leaves of the female cannabis plant. A marijuana plant has more than 500 other compounds chemically related to THC. These are known as cannabinoids.

Marijuana can be used in the form of hand-rolled cigarettes known as joints, smoked in pipes or water pipes referred to as bongs or rolled in cigar wraps called blunts. Some people also brew it in tea or use marijuana edibles like candies, cookies, and brownies. It can further be used through vaporizers, by obtaining concentrated forms, known as sinsemilla, from tender female plants. Moreover, it can be used in the form of concentrated resins which have a high amount of the active ingredient. These resins are extensively used by those who use marijuana for medicinal as well as recreational purposes.

Increase in Marijuana Use

According to 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report, nearly 26 million American citizens aged 12 years or older were current users of marijuana. Of these, 9.6 percent represented past month users. In comparison to 2002 and 2016, the percentage of current marijuana users aged 12 years or older was higher in 2017. This trend represents an increase in marijuana use among young adults aged 18 to 25 years and adults aged 26 years and older.

Effects of Marijuana

When marijuana is smoked, the THC and other compounds travel rapidly to reach the bloodstream from the lungs. From the bloodstream they reach the brain almost instantly and start exerting their effects. These effects could be a feeling of relaxation or euphoria. Other effects which may vary in different individuals could be increased appetite, altered sensory perceptions, constant laughter, and changed sense of time. Marijuana, when consumed in the form of food and beverages, takes some time to get processed and exerts its effects since it has to pass through the digestive system. Drinking or eating marijuana delivers a lower amount of the active compound than smoking. This results in the consumer taking in a higher dose of marijuana to feel the same effects.

Some people may also experience anxiety, distrust, panic, and fear from marijuana use. This usually happens when people are inexperienced with marijuana use, take too much of it or when the drug is of high potency. People consuming large quantities of marijuana may experience symptoms of acute psychosis like hallucinations, loss of personal identity, and delusions.

Physical Effects of Marijuana

Some of the physical effects of marijuana include the following.

  • Chronic marijuana users may struggle with a disorder known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) which might cause extreme nausea, vomiting and dehydration. The person can get so critical that medical intervention may be necessary.
  • Smoking marijuana may lead to an increase in the heart rate and the effect may last for up to three hours after smoking. This can get detrimental for people with heart problems and older adults as an increased heart rate may put one at the risk of a heart attack.
  • Regular smoking of marijuana may cause breathing problems in people similar to those caused by tobacco. Lung illnesses, dry cough, phlegm and lung infections maybe common in people smoking marijuana.
  • If marijuana is taken during pregnancy, it may affect some parts of the developing brain of the fetus. Children exposed to marijuana during pregnancy may have issues with memory, concentration, and problem solving capacity later. New mothers, who use marijuana and breast-feed their babies may also expose them to some amount of THC affecting their brain and developmental process.

Mental Effects of Marijuana

Chronic use of marijuana has been associated with mental illnesses in some people like temporary hallucinations, temporary paranoia, and deteriorating symptoms of schizophrenia. Marijuana also causes depression, anxiety and suicide ideation in teens.

Marijuana use disorder may be managed by effectively treating the mental health conditions with behavioral therapies and medications. Behavioral therapies for treatment of marijuana addiction are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management and motivational enhancement therapy.

Short-term Effects of Marijuana Use

Cannabis is often used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used as an analgesic and a relaxant. On consuming cannabis products with high THC content, teens experience greater impairments and harm compared to adults. Following are some of the short-term effects of marijuana abuse.

  • Altered sensory experiences
  • Changed perception of time
  • Mood swings
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Changes in blood sugar level
  • Light-headedness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Red swollen eyes
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Anxiety/paranoia

Long-term Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana use causes a transient reduction in the functionality of certain parts of the brain. It also affects communication between the hippocampus, cerebral cortex and cerebellum regions of the brain responsible for concentration/perception, memory and motor coordination.

When used by teenagers, the drug can weaken learning, memory, and thinking functions and lead to academic and career problems, relationship issues, and worsening of mental and physical health conditions. Marijuana is also considered to be a “gateway drug” that can lead to the use of more dangerous substances like heroin. Following are some of the other long-term complications of marijuana abuse.

  • Altered function of the brain’s reward system, leading to dependence and then addiction
  • Problems in memory retention
  • Impaired impulse control
  • Decline in IQ
  • Respiratory problems like bronchitis and chest infections
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Temporary hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Disorganized cognition

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Marijuana abuse can take months or even years to develop into a dependence. But, once a dependence develops, it does not take long to get converted into an addiction. When stopped abruptly, marijuana users can experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, irritability, cravings, and disturbed sleeping patterns.

A marijuana addiction can be difficult to overcome because of its addictive nature and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This is the reason why professional help should be sought to deal with this. A comprehensive treatment program for marijuana addiction comprises medically assisted detoxification treatment followed by behavioral therapies under professional care.

While a detox program helps flush out the drug and associated toxins from the system and manage the withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapies and counseling help change the negative thought process and avoid relapse. One should opt for medically supervised marijuana detox programs or marijuana detox treatment at state-of-the-art marijuana detox centers to achieve long-lasting recovery.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment at ADEONA Healthcare

Marijuana rehab for teens at ADEONA Healthcare offers all-inclusive programs that include evidence-based treatment modalities including behavioral therapies, like CBT, and alternative therapies, like yoga, art, and meditation. The multidisciplinary health care professionals at our marijuana rehab in San Diego County understand the pressures of adolescence and design customized treatment plans for each patient basis their needs.

ADEONA Healthcare’s substance abuse rehabilitation center constantly works to help patients stay clear of addiction to drugs and alcohol and instead focus on imbibing a healthy lifestyle exemplified by nutrition and exercise. Our treatment center offers comprehensive behavioral health intervention programs for patients needing residential treatment for weed abuse or dependence.

To know more about ADEONA Healthcare’s treatment programs call our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966 and speak to our representative. You can even chat online with our representatives for immediate resolution.

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