Marijuana No More™
Can Marijuana Really Reduce Anxiety – The Facts
In the initial stages of marijuana use, people who are prone to attacks of anxiety, or who are just anxious or stressed, find that marijuana use relaxes them and reduces levels of anxiety. This is quite true, so the temptation to use marijuana when one is feeling anxious or stressed is quite strong.
But, is this really an effective treatment?
That is exactly what we’ll try to explore here. With many people it is absolutely true that using marijuana tends to reduce anxiety to a considerable extent during usage. This is effective for some time, though it doesn’t work in the case of all users.
However, even in people who actually benefit from marijuana by experiencing lower levels of anxiety, this effect is not permanent.
With continued use over a reasonably long period, resistance builds up to the effects of the active components of the drug, and it no longer is capable of reducing anxiety as before. This tempts users to take larger doses of the drug, or to seek out stronger mixes. However, as the dose increases, with continued use, so also does tolerance.
At higher doses, there is a severe risk of addiction
Around one-tenth of those who use marijuana, even casually, will eventually become addicted to the drug.
Not only does the anxiety-reducing effect of the drug fall through continued use, but levels of anxiety will actually be heightened when one is not using the drug.
The heightened levels of anxiety when you’re not using the drug, if you’re a chronic user of marijuana, may not even be due to lifestyle factors. Marijuana itself can create heightened levels of anxiety in chronic users who try to abstain from the drug.
More than that, as dosage increases, it can cause a number of disorders…
The user might start having delusions, may become obsessed easily, or even grow psychotic. This, combined with heightened levels of anxiety (that now cannot be controlled by the drug), can result in a number of obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Ultimately, when one has used marijuana chronically for a long time in an attempt to control anxiety, withdrawal can also cause intense levels of anxiety… as also a number of other emotional and psychological symptoms. There may be outbursts of anger, and intense feelings of aggression, the patient might be very irritable and restless, and may also have difficulty with sleep patterns.
Finally, and perhaps the greatest reason of all for not using marijuana to reduce levels of anxiety, is that, if one does this one never learns more sensible and commonsense methods of reducing anxiety through lifestyle changes and through training one’s mind to cope better.
Controlling synthetic marijuana has become all-but-impossible
Synthetic marijuana is actually not marijuana at all, but various chemical compounds that closely mimic the effects of marijuana, though their chemical consistency may be quite different.
Such substances are extremely dangerous, because they have been badly studied, and are actually subject to almost no legal norms.
You may wonder how it is possible for substances sold openly to not be subject to legal norms
It’s quite true that it is illegal to sell a product that is chemically very close to a substance that is illegal.
The problem is that this bar only applied to products that have been labeled as designed for human consumption. Manufacturers of synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs circumvent this by labeling their products as not for human consumption.
A person manufacturing an illegal drug will often label it as being not a consumable product, but instead, incense, or some other similar substance, such as bath salts. The consumers who buy the product know that it is a ‘marijuana substitute’, but officials of the food and drug administration cannot take it off the market.
Ultimately, I suppose, legislation will go through, that will make any substance similar to an illegal substance, illegal to produce without a specific license. But for now this loop-hole exists, and dozens of fly-by-night manufacturers are making use of it.
This puts a flood of extremely dangerous and potentially lethal products on the market
People who use them think that the product is some variation of marijuana or another drug, and don’t realize that it is a completely different substance with effects that have not been studied by anyone who is at all concerned about the life and health of potential users. Some of these substances are certainly potentially lethal.
Even though the government is putting in legislation that contains a long list of the new designer drugs, (and which makes those items on the list illegal), this is actually a rather weak law that will not stop the flood of dangerous synthetic marijuana flooding the market today.
This is because any competent chemist can change the chemical constitution of the drug very slightly, and thereby, make it legal in the new variation. At the same time, the drug will be similarly enough to the banned substance to allow it to give users the same high and other effects.
This is exactly what the manufacturers of synthetic marijuana and other drugs are doing today
As the government tries to make their products illegal, they simply change their product slightly and put it right back on the market, and by doing this, ensure that the laws no longer apply to it. Some variations of synthetic marijuana and other drugs on the market today have been linked to extremely life-threatening effects.
Some who take these drugs have suffered intense hallucinations, while other users have actually committed suicide while under the effects of the drugs. Use of these synthetic drugs has been linked to episodes of extreme violence.
Synthetic marijuana has been clearly linked to heart attacks among users
That is to say, a good number of teens who have used synthetic marijuana have actually suffered heart attacks when under the influence of the drug. So synthetic marijuana definitely meets the criteria for a seriously life threatening substance.
Crucial new facts about how marijuana affects the memory
It’s been known for decades that marijuana adversely affects the memory, and can cause serious problems with remembering things, both in the short-term, as well as in the long-term.
What was not known, however, was just how the drug used to do this. Recent research has revealed the possible mechanisms by which marijuana can affect the memory.
This is how memory works…
While the brain is made up of neurons, the brain also contains astroglia, cells that conduct many of the support functions of the brain. While astroglia are not neurons, neurons cannot function without astroglia.
Astroglia conduct nutrition to the neurons, structurally support their position in the matrix of the brain, are regulators of the fluid that the brain is awash in, and also have been proved to be conductors of neurotransmitters like glutamate.
All-in-all, about fifty percent of the cells in your brain as astroglia, and not neurons. This is why evidence that shows that THC (the active ingredient of marijuana) affects astroglia is very disturbing.
What does THC specifically do to astroglia, and how does this affect memory?
Astroglia are part of the system that actually connects neurons into long synaptic chains. If these connections are broken, the synaptic chains themselves, which are the basis of memory, are also broken.
By disrupting these chains, chronic or long-term of marijuana can create problems with remembering, or gaps in memory. As THC also depletes neurotransmitters like glutamate, this may prevent the astroglia, and indeed, the neurons themselves, from functioning correctly, and this lead to further short-term memory complications.
So what we see here is that the action of THC on the brain can affect memory in both the short and the long-term.
It is important to note that these problems with memory are generally with chronic or intense use of marijuana, as happens when a person is suffering from a dependency on a substance. This dependency may be physical, recreational, or psychological. In the case of marijuana, it is most often psychological.
The casual user may suffer short-term memory loss. This would be, for example, a person who uses marijuana perhaps once a fortnight. However, such an occasional user is unlikely to experience long-term problems with memory.
Interesting experiments that explored the connection between marijuana and memory
Some interesting experiments have been conducted based upon this new insight about how marijuana causes memory loss. One crucial study was done upon rats, in which THC was injected into the rats.
The rats that were under the effects of THC had extreme problems not only with memory, but also with rational thought processes. This resulted in rats under the effects of THC being twice as bad at navigating and dealing with mazes than rats that were not under the effects of THC.
Since a maze is a problem, both in rational thinking as well as in memory, this experiment shows how disruptive the effects of THC are upon the mammalian brain. However, this was a study done upon rats. Nevertheless, there are many studies done upon humans that do underline this serious issue.
Dealing with a person high on marijuana
It’s quite likely that you may have to help someone high on marijuana at some point in your life, as marijuana dependence or addiction is actually quite common.
Remember that over a hundred thousand people are treated for marijuana addiction annually in the United States alone, and that, at least seven percent of all those who try marijuana will end up being addicted to it.
Don’t interfere while the person is high
If someone is high on marijuana, there is no need to interfere unless the intoxication seems to be an overdose, or a combination of several drugs, that is to say, unless it seems life threatening or dangerous in some way.
You can take the intoxicated person to a doctor, as a physician is really the most competent person to assess whether or not an intoxication is life threatening. If it is life threatening, which can easily occur if there is combination of drugs involved, or if there is a combination of drugs or alcohol, then the intoxication will require medical treatment.
If it is simply a normal marijuana intoxication, then time is really the best way of treating it, as the high will subside in a little while.
There is little point in trying to treat an addict for a marijuana addiction while they are intoxicated
This is because the mind is not rational at this time. Generally speaking, medical treatment is only necessary in cases where serious and chronic use of marijuana has led to delirium induced by the marijuana, or serious psychotic disorders that have been induced by marijuana use.
These things can occur, and are indeed, quite common.
For example, chronic depression is often induced by marijuana use, because marijuana use uses up neurotransmitters in the brain, and depression is a natural result of this.
Similarly, treatment for marijuana may become imperative if marijuana use is inducing intense anxiety when the patient is not high. But, other than this, there is little reason for medical intervention in quitting marijuana.
A good support circle
The most important thing that a marijuana user needs is an extremely supportive circle of family and friends.
A user’s family and friends can encourage him or her, not only to quit weed, but by making it clear that they value his or her capabilities, personalities and talents. With such support the marijuana user will find withdrawal a easy and relatively painless process.
Support groups can also help, but not everyone may be comfortable with the belief systems that are sometimes part of these groups. Nevertheless, many people have had positive experiences in quitting marijuana and other addictions through narcotics anonymous.
Relapses can occur
Remember that marijuana users tend to occasionally relapse even after withdrawal. One must not be critical when this happens, as it is a natural part of the withdrawal process, but instead, should be extremely supportive of the marijuana user.
If a marijuana user relapses and happens to use the drug shortly after withdrawing, you must show a lot of understanding, and talk of the relapse as part of a learning process rather than as a sign of failure.
Try to get the marijuana user to see it in this light, and as a result, you might find that they come away from this experience stronger rather than weaker.
Does marijuana affect academic capability?
There are lots of names for marijuana. It is called weed, or pot, or hash, or Mary Jane, but whatever it’s called, the effects are well known, and marijuana itself is widely used.
Marijuana also has a lot of supporters who actually believe that the drug is beneficial. Both sides of the issue are rather fanatical in their support or their disparagement of marijuana. So, let’s take a look at the effect marijuana has on young people and the effect it can have on academic progress in students.
One of the reasons marijuana is popular is that it helps people to deal with deep-seated problems
For example, if a person has a serious problem that is causing a lot of stress, an hour with marijuana will cause them to relax completely and to forget their issues. While this may seem like a good thing, it actually isn’t, because it is not a cure for the problem that the person is having.
This is especially important in the case of psychological trauma. If a person uses marijuana to escape from psychological issues from their past, marijuana only provides a short-term sensation of relief from these issues, and does not solve the issues themselves.
What we’re talking about here is permanent dependency on the drug, which is serious.
Still, this would hardly be a problem, if that was the only effect that marijuana had
The problem is that marijuana affects the entire future timeline of a person’s life.
While marijuana gives one a feeling of intense euphoria, as well as a feeling of relaxed detachment from the world (the experience varies from person to person), as well as feelings of enhanced intellect or sensory perception, in reality, a person’s mental processes are considerably degraded.
Firstly, one is no longer focused upon the issues of life. It is highly unlikely that a young person who smokes marijuana every evening will concentrate upon their studies or the possibilities of their future career. It is likely that they will spend the day in a very relaxed frame of mind, and then smoke marijuana in the evening.
This leads to a life that actually goes nowhere, and a lot of rather clever and promising young people have ended their lives in extremely low-key positions simply because they became addicted to marijuana.
Not only does marijuana make one psychologically disinclined to study or focus upon a career, it also directly affects cognitive and memory processes
It has been shown clearly in studies that people who regularly use marijuana can no longer call upon the same levels of concentration and the same memory capability as is the norm for them.
You can just imagine how this affects one’s academic progress.
Not only does a student who regularly uses marijuana not have the inclination to focus much upon their studies, but they also have a much lower capacity for understanding concepts and memorizing data than they would otherwise.
One study showed that students who regularly used the drug had severe problems in dealing with mathematical equations, and also had a much lower ability to verbalize data and to deal verbally with their peers or answer questions from examiners.
Does marijuana damage young minds?
A lot of weed users defend the user of marijuana by saying that, compared to hard drugs, and even to alcohol, marijuana seems to do very little damage, and appears to be relatively harmless.
This is actually mistaken reasoning, and pointing out that something is less harmful than another thing is actually no defense of that substance.
There is also definite evidence that using marijuana chronically can damage the intelligence and the IQ
At first, this issue was difficult to study, because many young people who used marijuana were also using alcohol and hard drugs, so it was difficult to isolate the resultant effects as being that of marijuana. However, with a great deal of effort, researchers have finally isolated a clear indication that young people who use marijuana on a regular basis, and for a long period of time, may suffer a long-term drop in their Intelligence Quotient.
People who have continued using marijuana over ten years may actually show a drop in IQ that is over eight points.
What we are talking about here is a person actually growing less intelligent, something that almost never happens in the normal course of things. This has been clearly shown to be a result of the use of the drug.
The effects of marijuana use in adolescence
In the Dunedin study conducted in New Zealand, over a thousand people were observed throughout the course of their lives, from birth. This study started in 1972, and the people involved have been carefully tested, regularly and over time, for Intelligence Quotient, and capabilities, as well as for other indications of human development.
This study has provided a great deal of information to researchers all over the planet, but to us it is particularly important because this study provides year-to-year data about a person’s Intelligence Quotient and cognitive capability. This study showed clear indications that those who used weed during the crucial period of adolescence suffered a resultant drop in IQ if that use continued over a considerable period of time.
But, perhaps, the most frightening part of these statistics is that intelligence did not return to normal when marijuana use was discontinued, that is to say, the drop in IQ caused by marijuana was permanent – marijuana caused permanent damage to the minds of the young people in the study who used it.
To be fair, the drop in IQ only occurs when a person is actually dependent on marijuana and is using it on a very regular basis. It is unlikely that marijuana used twice a month, for example, would cause permanent damage to the intelligence.
However, for chronic users of marijuana, there is very real cause for concern
Concentrations of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), are very high in marijuana available on the market today, and using such potent marijuana can certainly cause damage to the intellects of dependent or addicted users.
Please bear in mind that people who become addicted or dependent to marijuana are usually those suffering from anxiety or depression, which means that their dependence on marijuana is more than recreational, or even a physical addiction – it is a mental and psychological dependency, and this can be very potent and difficult to deal with.
Does marijuana lead to depression?
There’s a direct correlation between marijuana and depression, as studies find that many more people who smoke marijuana suffer from depression as opposed to non-smokers. But there’s still some discussion as how this mechanism actually works, or whether there actually is a mechanism at all.
For example, if more marijuana users are diagnosed with depression, it could just mean that depressed people tend to use marijuana. Also, there are hundreds of active compounds in marijuana, so how such a mechanism would work is not always absolutely clear.
However, researchers who are looking into the link between marijuana and depression do have some idea of how it could work.
Quite simply, the brain uses chemicals to transmit information between neurons
These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Some of these are glutamate, gamma-amino butyric acid (gaba), acetylcholine, and more. When a person uses marijuana, these neurotransmitters become extremely depleted. Many studies have shown that depletion of neurotransmitters in the brain is directly linked to depression, so this could be the link between marijuana and depression.
Marijuana depletes the neurotransmitters, and as a result of this, when a person comes out of their marijuana high, they become extremely depressed.
Worse, there’s a tendency among people who are already depressed to use marijuana
When the drug further depletes their neurotransmitters, it leads to a worsening cycle of depression. As the person comes out of their marijuana high, they are even more depressed than they were before they took the drug.
This causes them to use marijuana again as quickly as possible, which further depletes their neurotransmitters… which causes the depression to become even worse. There is hard data to show that using marijuana causes this ever-worsening cycle of depression.
There is some data to show that marijuana in very small quantities can reduce elements of depression. But in high or strong doses, it worsens depression. What is troubling is that the THC in marijuana that is available these days is many times stronger than that in marijuana available some twenty or thirty years ago.
This strong THC count means that modern marijuana is much more depressive that the marijuana used, say, for example, in the eighties
Users of marijuana should keep the dose mild if they want to avoid the depressant qualities of this drug. Heavy or prolonged use is not recommended, as there are no studies to show what happens to the mind when the neurotransmitters are chronically depleted over a long period of time.
However, such extended use has been shown to be linked to severe drop in mental acuity, and serious problems with memory. Some research shows that this could be due to the brain losing part of its ability to form new synaptic chains.
Does using marijuana cause damage to the brain?
Studies done show that marijuana can definitely affect the way learning works, especially in young minds. Teenagers who use marijuana can find the learning process massively impaired, as the structure of the brain isn’t fully established yet.
The brain takes slightly longer to develop than the body
In most people, development of the body is usually complete by the age of twenty. However, the structure of the brain continues to develop till around the age of twenty-five or so. So you can see that the brain could be seriously damaged by using marijuana during the teen years.
Studies have shown that people who use marijuana tend to have serious problems with anxiety or depression without it
Those who have used marijuana chronically for years tend to suffer from schizophrenia. The chronic use of marijuana can also initiate severe psychotic issues. Marijuana use seems to be most detrimental to the developing mind, as adults seem to be able to use it without developing many of the mental issues that teens do.
Just as the mind is developing during the teen years, so also is the personality
Becoming dependent upon marijuana is no basis upon which to construct one’s personality. In many adolescents who use marijuana, marijuana becomes a way of dealing with the unexpected issues of life, and this can result in setting a life-long pattern of dependence upon this drug that is hardly beneficial.
Many young people who showed a lot of promise in their early years end up in extremely low-profile blue-collar work due to their dependence upon marijuana.
Another very important point is that marijuana has grown more concentrated and potent over the years
The marijuana of the sixties is not the marijuana that is available today. It is possible that chronic users have actually pushed for these greater concentrations as lower concentrations of the drug may no longer work for them.
However, the effect of these heavy concentrations upon new users is disastrous.
Not only is the chance of addiction vastly increased, but so also the chance of serious damage to the body and mind
Many emergency room specialists report increased numbers of adolescent patients suffering from attacks of intense vomiting, as well as patients suffering from delirium or psychosis.
Remember that marijuana and other mind-altering substances actually penetrate the blood-brain barrier, a powerful defense mechanism of the brain.
Essentially speaking, any sort of high is simply a toxin wrecking havoc with the chemistry of the brain and altering its ability to work correctly
Yes, the high experienced by using any sort of mind-altering substance is no more than the functioning of your brain being disrupted by the toxins of that substance.
Hospitalization for marijuana addicts
The simple truth is that it is perfectly possible to quit weed without medical intervention, as the withdrawal symptoms are almost never life threatening, and do not raise severe complications.
However, while there are no medical issues connected with withdrawal, withdrawal from weed can be a complex process, as weed is usually something of a social drug, that is to say, it is usually smoked in the company of one’s peers.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t people who smoke by themselves, but it is common for marijuana use to be reinforced by the fact that all the people one knows are also using it. Successful withdrawal from marijuana addiction often involves a complete change of one’s friend circle. If one has the determination and the courage to do this on one’s own, of course, one can successfully withdraw from marijuana.
Drug Rehabilitation programs
However, changing one’s environment by getting admitted to a drug rehabilitation program, and benefiting from professional counseling, can make the process of withdrawal much easier.
At the very least, if a large extent of one’s social life is based upon marijuana, a good drug rehabilitation program can make withdrawal easier by easing one out of that drug-related social circle.
It is also important to consult a doctor before you start marijuana withdrawal
One of the most crucial reasons for this is that medical research has found that marijuana use is often a response to mental illness.
That is to say, marijuana use is actually a person’s attempt to self-medicate a mental illness that they are suffering from. If this is the case, the moment the person actually withdraws from marijuana, they will again begin to be subject to the symptoms and effects of the mental illness that they are suffering from.
Consulting a doctor and undergoing checkups during the withdrawal process will identify any symptoms of mental illness so that proper treatment can be effected.
If this is not done, the user will simply relapse into marijuana use again shortly after withdrawal, as marijuana use is the only way they know to treat their symptoms.
Moreover, many of these mental illnesses are perfectly treatable by modern drugs and therapy, so treating them correctly will make the marijuana use redundant.
Getting admitted to an institution that specializes in drug-rehabilitation therapy provides support, both mental and physical, during the crucial two-week period during which the patient is likely to experience the most intense symptoms. A good institute that specializes in withdrawal will also provide support in the form of specific therapists.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One therapy that has seen considerable success in effecting withdrawal from marijuana is cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT. CBT focuses upon altering the behavioral patterns that reinforce marijuana use, and as these are indeed the most powerful factors in continuing a marijuana addiction, removing them makes marijuana withdrawal very much easier.
In CBT, not only will the patient by taught to effect changes in their pattern of thought and behavior, to help them to refrain from using marijuana, but they will also be taught methods of better handling the stress and anxiety that often induce a person to use marijuana in the first place.
How marijuana affects the human mind
Marijuana can be taken in a number of ways. The most common, of course, is smoking, but it has been baked into brownies, and ingested in any other number of ways. Whatever the method by which marijuana is used, its effects are unmistakable.
How marijuana works
The active component of marijuana, called THC for short, directly acts upon molecules within the brain to affect memory and the moods, as well as appetite. THC actually causes chain reactions in neurotransmitters in the brain, causing a massive triggering of these neurotransmitters, and resulting in the classic marijuana high.
Effects of a marijuana high
Feeling seems to be accentuated, and a lackluster joke will suddenly appear exceedingly funny. Even the most ordinary of foods will suddenly taste exquisite.
While marijuana can have different effects on different people, the most common effects are feelings of relaxation or happiness. People may also feel that they have grown more intelligent and can think better, but this is an illusion created by the drug.
In reality, intelligence under the usage of marijuana does not increase.
Please bear in mind that the drug can affect different people differently, and that it is just as possible for a person to feel extremely paranoid when using marijuana or extremely irritable. In some rare cases, violence has also been noted.
How the mind is impaired when you use marijuana
Functions of the mind are seriously impaired when one is using marijuana, and the most important of these is the ability to focus one’s attention. Another function of the mind that is seriously affected is memory, with a severe degradation of the ability to remember things and events, often even after the marijuana high has passed. Other aspects of the mind and body that are affected are concentration, and the ability to manipulate the body, that is to say, one’s motor coordination.
Marijuana also affects one’s ability to gain information from one’s surroundings, while giving the opposite effect.
This can be extremely dangerous. A person believes that their senses are massively accentuated, and that they are able to absorb more information from their surroundings, while in reality the opposite is actually applicable.
Marijuana might make you focus upon a single point in your surroundings, and you may believe that you can see that point much better than you could when not under the influence of the drug. Unfortunately, you will not see anything else other than that point in your surroundings. This sort of tunnel vision can lead to disastrous consequences… for example if one is driving.
Careful studies have shown that people under the influence of marijuana show lagging reaction times when driving.
They were also much slower when changing lanes, and there was a greater delay before they pressed on the brakes if something unexpected happened. Such lags in reaction time may or may not lead to accidents, but they certainly are not recommended.
Important effects of smoking Marijuana
The effects of smoking marijuana are many and varied, and actually depend to a great extent upon each person. Even the very feelings and emotions that one person experiences while smoking weed may be quite different from that experienced by another. People aren’t quite sure why this is so, but some doctors think that it is partially due to each individual’s body chemistry being different, as also their psychological makeup.
What a person expects of marijuana might also have a considerable impact upon what they actually feel when they are high
You should be aware that not everything that you experience while under the influence of marijuana is authentic. For example, people experience what they think is an increased sensitivity and an enhanced sensory awareness, but actually it is just that the mind is more sensitive to the input from the nerves.
One does not really hear better when one is under the influence of marijuana, one only thinks one does. The same goes for eyesight.
Similarly, some people think that their mental capacity is actually much enhanced when under the influence of marijuana, but again, this is not so. Studies have shown that mental capability does not improve, but the person under the drug believes that it is so.
The bottom line is that marijuana is a mind-altering substance, and what you experience when under the influence is generally not the truth.
This is why marijuana has so many advocates. People smoke the drug and see and hear what they believe to be true, but which is only an effect of the drug upon their minds.
The physical effects of smoking marijuana are really quite serious
It has been proven that marijuana cigarettes are three times more likely to cause damage to the respiratory system than are tobacco cigarettes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that marijuana cigarettes are more harmful than tobacco cigarettes, because a person generally smokes tobacco cigarettes in far greater numbers than does a user of marijuana. Tobacco smokers, especially if they are long-term and chronic users, tend to be chain smokers, and the lung damage caused in such circumstances far exceeds that from marijuana use.
Nevertheless, there are detrimental physical effects to using marijuana. The marijuana user who has been using the drug for a long time will experience an increased pulse, problems with sexual capability, and certainly a degraded ability to understand things, to concentrate, or to remember things in everyday life. Both the function of the mind and secretion of crucial hormones are put badly out of balance, and this can have serious long-term effects. Since marijuana cigarettes are so damaging to the respiratory system, a long-term user will also experience bronchitis or a chronic cough.
Marijuana should never be used by pregnant women as it has been shown to lessen the weight at birth of the child, and also to increase the child’s risk of cancer at a later point in their lives – hardly a gift one would want to give one’s child.
Children who are born of women who use marijuana during pregnancy, have lower cognitive capability and memory capacity, as well as damaged verbal capability.
Important FAQ about marijuana
Among the many questions that are asked about marijuana is whether marijuana is a gateway drug. While it is perfectly true that some people may use marijuana for years, and not even use it chronically, not everyone has the same level of self-control.
Marijuana users who use marijuana in a very relaxed manner, and which perhaps is more important, not too frequently, can probably use marijuana without much damage. The problem is that marijuana use tends to escalate over time, and if one is to avoid this, one has to have a great deal of self-control.
Concentrations of THC have increased
One thing that makes marijuana a possible gateway drug these days is that it has grown a great deal more concentrated, with concentrations of the active element within marijuana being three to five times what they were a few decades ago.
This potency makes it plausible for a marijuana user who has used the drug chronically for a few years, or who is addicted to it, to ‘graduate’ to other more powerful and more dangerous addictions.
Another question that people often ask is whether a person can suffer a fatal overdose on marijuana
So long as one restricts one’s use to marijuana, a fatal overdose will in all probability not occur, nor are there any records of such an overdose ever occurring on marijuana use. However, if one mixes marijuana with other substances, it becomes exceedingly dangerous, and in such cases, fatalities can and do occur.
Even if fatalities do not occur when using marijuana mixed with other substances, or using marijuana along with alcohol, for example, other unpleasant side effects can occur. A person may experience uncontrollable shaking, extreme feelings of anxiety, and, of course, very rarely, a severe psychological reaction. Hallucinations can be quite common when one uses mixed drugs that include marijuana.
Is it dangerous to ingest edibles that contain marijuana?
On the surface, no. But there is the subtle danger of a marijuana overdose when inexperienced users ingest edibles that contain marijuana. Edibles that contain marijuana take a certain amount of time to be digested, and therefore, it takes a longer time for THC to reach and affect the brain when it is absorbed in this way.
Young people using edibles may not realize that this time period has to be accounted for, and may consume larger quantities of the edibles in an effort to reach a high. Finally, when the edibles are digested, this leads to an overdose of the drug.
Such an overdose can usually be treated symptomatically by a healthcare provider. The drug will slowly be flushed from the system while the person’s pulse is monitored for signs of any danger. If a person shows signs of psychotic reaction, the healthcare practitioner may prescribe a mild sedative to calm them down until the drug is flushed from the system.
Does marijuana lead to long-term addictions?
Marijuana contains THC, which is the active element of the drug, and this active element tends to locate itself within the fat cells of the body. Even long after a person has stopped using marijuana, these fat cells tend to slowly leach the drug into the body, which can lead to severe cravings that cause one to return to the drug.
This ‘slow release’ of THC from the fat cells can also lead to long-term effects of marijuana that persist even long after one has stopped using the drug.
Important statistics about marijuana
One of the most important statistics about marijuana use is that it tends to center around young people, and use of marijuana tends to drop off as a person grows more mature.
Statistics show that the maximum use of weed is by children and young teens between the ages of twelve to seventeen.
The greatest concentration of young users is around the age of seventeen. A vast majority of marijuana users are seen to begin using the drug well before the age of twenty. Most disturbingly of all, as people grow older, they tend to stop using the drug, with many marijuana users stopping using it before they reach the age of thirty.
How dangerous is marijuana?
Marijuana is not considered to be life-threatening, as there are almost no statistics to show that marijuana has directly caused deaths. However, marijuana can and has been implicated in deaths related to loss of motor co-ordination and accidents while driving, among other factors.
So when was marijuana used most extensively?
The year 1980 saw about the highest use of marijuana, with nearly sixty percent of students in schools in the United States having experimented with the drug. Worse than that, ten percent of all the students studying in schools in the United States, of fifteen years and above, used it every day.
Interestingly enough, by the year 1992, the number of students above the age of fifteen who were using marijuana every day had dropped to just two percent. This was because marijuana use was considered more socially acceptable around 1980, and this social approval of the drug had fallen drastically in the 1990s.
This could be one of the most interesting factors governing use of the drug, especially as it is an extreme threat to young people, as their learning processes are most vulnerable to the detrimental effects of marijuana.
However, past the year 2000, marijuana use seems to have increased in students once again, with over six percent now using the drug daily.
Disturbingly enough, these statistics hold true not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom and in parts of Europe. Canada, on the other hand, shows much lower statistics of marijuana use in students.
Other useful statistics about marijuana use
More males tend to use marijuana than females, and at least one-tenth of all those who use marijuana will go on to become daily or chronically addicted users of the drug. Similarly, one in ten of those who use marijuana will become completely dependent upon the drug, and will be unable to stop using it without a great deal of motivation and assistance.
Finally, nearly fifteen million American citizens regularly use marijuana, and of these, one hundred thousand are treated annually for an addiction to this drug. Overdoses from marijuana sometimes land people in emergency rooms across the United States.
Is marijuana addictive?
There was a popular notion a few years ago that it was actually not possible to become addicted to marijuana. This was a mistaken notion due to faulty studies, and most researchers are now of the opinion that marijuana can indeed be addictive, especially if one has become a chronic user.
It is true that tobacco, for example, is far more addictive than marijuana. Nevertheless, marijuana has shown greater addictive possibilities than LSD.
Addiction is quite a different thing from dependence on weed, and dependence on weed is actually very common.
At least one in every ten people who use marijuana will ultimately become dependent on it, and that is rather a frightening statistic. Once an actual dependence has been established in a chronic user, it’s a small step from that to a full-scale addiction.
Signs of addiction
One of the first signs of an addiction is an increasing tolerance to the drug, where greater or more concentrated doses are required to achieve the same effect.
Another sign of a definite addiction is that the drug is used by a person more often than they at first intend. For example, if a person is used to using the drug just once a day, they may find themselves unconsciously reaching out for it two or three times a day, and if they at first only used it once or twice a week, they may then find themselves turning into daily users.
Oddly enough, another sign of addiction is actually wanting to quit
If a person strongly wishes to be rid of marijuana, and tries again and again to be rid of it (even without success), this may actually be a clear sign of addiction. The person concerned actually feels ‘chained’ by the drug and is being held in the addiction against his or her will.
Finally, one very important sign of marijuana addiction is that activities related to using the drug tend to dominate one’s life to the detriment of other activities.
A person’s entire day, or a significant portion of it, will be focused upon marijuana-related socializing and events – for example, in buying the drug, in interacting with other users, and so on.
This means that a person may not be spending time on hobbies, or interests, or academics, or on their career.
Over time, such focus upon marijuana-related activities will completely degrade a person’s self-worth, as well as his or her usefulness to society.
And that brings us to one of the most potent consequences of using marijuana
The use of marijuana – and the way it tends to focus one’s life solely upon marijuana-use – completely destroys a person’s potential for growth, and may lead to a downward spiral, mentally, emotionally, academically, and economically.
A person ends up in low-end jobs, earning very little and using whatever they earn to purchase the drug.
Yet, despite these negative consequences, a person persists in their use of the drug. This is the most clear sign of a marijuana addiction.
Marijuana and Addiction
Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant. While there are many industrial uses for this plant, when most people think of marijuana, they think of its ‘recreational’ uses.
The key ingredient in marijuana that causes altered mental states is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is known to most people simply as THC.
Human understanding of THC and its effects has increased over the years
As a matter of fact, this increased knowledge of weed is actually what is at the root of many marijuana problems today, as THC has become increasingly concentrated in marijuana over the last two decades or so.
The concentrations of THC in weed that is bought on the street today are many times what they used to be twenty to twenty-five years ago. This makes marijuana today much more addictive and also much more potentially damaging to the mind.
Among many of the potential problems that weed addiction can cause are problems with logical thinking and memory
When a person is high, they have the illusion of being smarter than they were previously, while mental function is actually considerably degraded.
The effects even spill over into everyday life, so that there are problems with memory and concentration even when one is not high.
People also seem to experience a lack of direction in life, and those with once-promising careers may find themselves completely side-tracked, and working in low-paying unskilled jobs due to their marijuana addiction. Of course, I’m not saying this happens to everyone, but it can and does happen to a great many users of marijuana.
One’s success in quitting marijuana depends a great deal upon the reasons one started using it in the first place
If you used marijuana to suppress the effects of problems you were facing, facing those problems again might cause a relapse. The key, of course, is to find answers other than marijuana.
Building a good support structure is essential, but one has to be careful when doing this
If one has a weed addiction, most of one’s friends are also users, and they hardly form the best environment in which to quit weed.
Try to ask friends and family who are non-users to support you in quitting weed. Besides this, psychological counseling can also help a marijuana user, especially if underlying problems were what caused the marijuana use in the first place.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, known as CBT for short, has been known to be quite effective in dealing with a marijuana addiction. CBT focuses upon re-directing a person’s thoughts and correcting factors in the environment that caused the addiction in the first place.
Motivational interviewing, also known as MI, is another psychological method that has considerable success in treating a marijuana addiction. MI is very good in the initial stages of quitting weed, as it has been shown to be very effective in creating the motivation necessary to step away from a weed addiction. Psychotherapy involving the whole family has also shown to be very successful in treating a weed addiction.
Marijuana, Is it Good or Bad?
There’s a lot of debate about marijuana, with those who smoke weed insisting that it makes them more intelligent, and that there are countless benefits to smoking weed. Let’s take a balanced look at whether marijuana is really helpful or harmful to a person.
To start with, let’s look at the positive effects of smoking weed
We’ll be disregarding the legal issues surrounding smoking weed here, and will directly focus upon the actual effects of weed. Many of the effects are similar to those caused by other substances that produce ‘highs’.
A person smoking weed may feel a sense of euphoria, and may also feel extremely relaxed. If they are anxious about issues in their life, this anxiety decreases. A person might also become more uninhibited socially, and may talk and laugh in a very relaxed manner, all of which seems to be reasonably positive.
Users also say that they experience an enhancement to the senses, with some of the senses seeming to be extremely accentuated.
While these things are positive, there are also some negative factors directly associated with these seemingly positive effects
For example, the decrease in anxiety about issues that affect one’s everyday life might act solely as a sort of social and psychological anesthetic. Meaning, that the issues might actually be real and smoking marijuana can become a sort of avoidance of those very real issues. This could eventually result in the destruction of a person’s career and lifestyle over time.
While the stress and anxiety the world can place upon an individual are certainly not positive, smoking marijuana as a response to these things becomes a vicious cycle.
There are a great many more positive responses possible, such as choosing a less-stressful career path, even if it pays less, and spending time in activities in the open air, or communing with nature.
These things are seen to reduce anxiety quite as much as smoking marijuana.
It is also true that people can exhibit enhanced social interaction after smoking marijuana, laughing and talking easily with friends.
Unfortunately, if marijuana is used as a response to inhibitions in society, those inhibitions become permanent – in that a person can then only interact with other people effectively when under the influence of marijuana.
Since, at such a point, one is only interacting with other smokers of marijuana, it doesn’t really make for effective social interaction on a larger scale.
At least, not unless the entire world is stoned on weed.
There are also certain extremely disturbing effects noticed in marijuana users
These effects involve concentration and memory, both of which are severely affected, and which can affect one’s ability to function effectively in the world outside ‘marijuana use’.
Other than this, in the initial stages, there are very few side-effects, but if use escalates over time, the number of side effects also escalates and can include a host of mental and physical conditions.
Marijuana is NOT a harmless, natural way to treating mental issues
Many psychiatrists see an alarming trend in young people to try to self-medicate for mental issues by using marijuana. This is because there is massive tendency on the net for people to describe marijuana as a harmless substance because it is ‘natural’.
This is a very foolish way to describe any plant, because, as any naturalist knows, a great many plants are poisonous and harmful to human health, or even to the health of animals, and only a person who’s completely ignorant of biology will ever claim that a plant is harmless merely because it is natural.
It is particularly dangerous that young people are using marijuana to self-medicate for mental illnesses, as there is some evidence to show a direct link between marijuana usage and long-term depression, anxiety issues, and even psychosis.
These issues can be accentuated by marijuana use if a teen already has a family history of such problems.
Moreover, research has shown that heavy and chronic use of marijuana can certainly cause the onset of various mental illnesses among people who already have a genetic tendency to develop schizophrenia.
Those who already use marijuana will show the onset of the symptoms of the disorder sometimes five years earlier than those who simply have a genetic predisposition to the disorder.
Most doctors will recommend that people under the age of twenty not use the drug
There is certain evidence to show that there is a far greater chance of mental issues developing if one uses the drug below the age of twenty, and certainly if one uses the drug under the age of fifteen. The unfortunate fact is that many of those who start using marijuana use it when in their mid-teens.
Some health specialists recommend not using marijuana until past the age of twenty-five, as this is the point where the development of the mind is considered to be complete. Most of these health specialists believe that those who smoke marijuana after the age of twenty-five can do so with much lower chances of developing any serious disorder.
Many marijuana users compare marijuana to alcohol. This is something like picking the lesser among two poisons, and is hardly logical. The argument itself could be said to be an example of the sort of distorted thinking that the drug encourages.
Governments hope that legalization will allow controls to be put upon the quality and potency of the drug, especially upon concentrations of THC in marijuana sold today, which have soared, and which is what actually makes marijuana use so dangerous.
Older strains of marijuana, which contain as little as three percent of THC, can hardly be considered dangerous. The problem is that these older strains are rarely sold today, and most of the marijuana on the streets today contains THC concentrations that range between eight to a deadly twenty-five percent.
Education can also be key to reducing drug use, as a young person who has learned to value his or her mind is that much less likely to use substances that could damage or destroy it.
Signs that someone close to you is addicted to marijuana
One of the signs that a person is addicted to marijuana is a serious alteration of established patterns of behavior. A person previously dedicated to academics or their career may begin ignoring these things, and merely drifting through life.
The person may also exhibit severe alterations of mood, sometimes appearing unnaturally relaxed, and at other times giving vent to intense outbursts of anger or irritation.
These mood swings are directly related to marijuana use
When a person is under the influence of the drug, they will exhibit signs of euphoria, or appear far more relaxed than they usually are.
When a person is no longer is under the influence of the drug, and are beginning to experience cravings for the drug, they may become extremely irritable, and also exhibit intense bursts of anger.
If you notice these patterns of behavior, it is a rather strong indication that the person is using some sort of drug, and possibly marijuana.
Another possible sign of marijuana use is related to smoking
Please bear in mind that these signs could actually be caused by smoking tobacco, and not marijuana. The signs of smoking should only be taken seriously if they go hand-in-hand with the mood swings that I mentioned earlier.
The common signs of smoking are of course, a chronic cough (which comes from the inhalation of smoke), noisy breathing, a constant problem with phlegm, and very often, discoloration of the teeth.
If you notice any of these things, and if the person is not a chronic smoker, they may instead be using marijuana. If you suspect this, be alert for the smell of marijuana, which is a sickly, sweet smell, quite different from the smell that hangs about a tobacco smoker.
If you detect this odor, the person might be addicted to marijuana, or at least, using it.
Please note that most marijuana users will actually try to disguise the smell in some way
You should be alert for this. Using mints, especially if it is not part of a previous pattern, could be a sign of marijuana use. However, smokers also tend to use camouflage of this sort, so do allow for this possibility.
Marijuana affects the mind
Another, and more important indication of marijuana use, especially if combined with the ones I’ve already mentioned, is a severe change in mental capacity.
If a previously clear-minded person now has issues with concentration and focus, or if they suddenly suffer from problems with memory, it is certainly a sign of drug addiction.
If you do detect any of these signs, you should approach the subject in an extremely diplomatic manner, or with the help of a trained counselor.
Don’t force the user to use deception by aggressively trying to stop them from using the drug. I would recommend against this, as if a user is open with you, this gives you a clear assessment of their problem.
Some of the less obvious dangers of marijuana use
There’s a lot of publicity regarding the de-criminalization of marijuana, and what with all the fuss created by interested parties, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for medical researchers and health specialists to speak the simple truth – that marijuana damages the health, damages the mind, and can be addictive.
If you say that marijuana damages the health or the mind, or if you say that marijuana can be addictive anywhere on the net, you’ll soon have a lot of marijuana users shouting you down.
So let’s take a look at some of the facts, shall we?
The first, and perhaps the most threatening of all facts, is that there is a serious tendency among young people today – I’m talking about those in their teens – to use marijuana. While marijuana use doesn’t cause that many issues in an adult, in a teenager it can be seriously detrimental to the mental and physical health of a person.
It is especially detrimental to the mental health, as studies have shown that marijuana use in a teenager can lead to a massive drop in intelligence, as well as serious problems with memory and cognition.
Never forget that marijuana is big business
It doesn’t seem to occur to many people that marijuana is big business, and that there are vested interests behind all these campaigns calling for the legalization of marijuana.
It’s not about infringing a person’s freedoms or personal rights; it’s about preventing our children from injuring their minds and bodies using a drug that no study has shown to be beneficial to the mind.
Marijuana hits the young worst of all
Especially in young people, marijuana use can cause problems with perception, and serious issues with working out complex problems within the mind. Since memory is affected, it is difficult to hold different aspects of a problem within one’s mind and to remember their relationship to each other. This is something that everyone does to a lesser or greater extent, but a marijuana user can find it very difficult to do this.
More than that, these problems with memory are extremely persistent, and they are often experienced by marijuana users up to a month after the drug was last used.
This is actually an unacceptable impairment of memory, seeing as most marijuana users use the drug more than once a month – what this means, in effect, is that the memory of a marijuana user is permanently impaired, or at least, is permanently impaired for as long as they are regular users of the drug.
Mental health issues caused by the drug
Once marijuana use becomes chronic, and there is actually an addiction, there are very much higher chances of psychosis developing, or even schizophrenia. Most of these mental issues are caused by the massive increase in the potency of THC within the marijuana sold today. Whereas the THC concentrations in the marijuana in the nineteen-eighties were as low as three percent, some samples of street marijuana today showed THC concentrations of up to twenty-five percent – potency that is certainly detrimental to the health of the mind.
Specific mental and physical health problems caused by marijuana
While there are a lot of mental and physical issues caused by marijuana, these are the most common problems that a user of marijuana could expect.
One of the most common physical effects experienced by a user of marijuana is a problem with breathing. It goes without saying that the smoke from marijuana is an irritant and inflames the tissues of the lungs.
This effect is very much accentuated if the marijuana one uses is a cheap street variety that contains contaminants such as sand.
As you breathe in the particles of sand, they will scar and inflame lung tissue. If the marijuana is not contaminated, the physical problems experienced by marijuana users are more or less similar to those experienced by users of tobacco. There’ll be a persistent cough, and a far greater propensity for lung disease.
Another issue often experienced by users of marijuana is an accelerated pulse
This accelerated pulse will sometimes persist not only during marijuana use, but for between two to four hours after one has smoked the drug.
Some medical researchers believe that this can actually increase the possible risk of a user experiencing a heart attack. If one already is at risk of heart attacks, or if one is an older person, one would be well advised to avoid using marijuana.
Marijuana used during pregnancy is recommended against as there are many health consequences for the fetus.
Children whose mothers used marijuana during their pregnancies have a much lower weight at birth. There is also a much greater risk of them developing problems with their minds or being born with physical defects. Defects of the brain are especially common, as are problems with memory, cognition, or attention span. Children whose mothers used marijuana during pregnancy may also have serious issues with problem-solving. While the mechanisms by which this damage occurs are not clear, it is postulated that certain amounts of THC actually enter the bloodstream of the growing fetus.
Chronic marijuana users, of course, develop far more serious problems, including hallucinations.
These hallucinations are only part of a greater tendency to develop full-blown schizophrenia. The hallucinations may seem exceedingly real, but of course, they are anything but so.
Paranoia is also very common among chronic users of the drug, and a person who uses marijuana regularly may become extremely distrustful of the people around him. Thinking may also become extremely disorganized and a person may not be able to even plan out their day in a coherent manner.
Since marijuana depletes neurotransmitters, it can lead to long-term depression, as well as anxiety issues and panic attacks. There’s also been a link noted between suicidal tendencies and chronic marijuana use.
Casual marijuana use among adults above the age of twenty-five is not found to be detrimental, but chronic use is definitely so.
Steps to take when Quitting Marijuana
If you’re trying to quit marijuana you’re hardly alone, because more than a hundred thousand people actually apply for various sorts of treatment to quit weed and, and that’s in the United States alone.
And a great many of those people are actually successful in quitting weed, but experiences of withdrawal can be quite varied.
What might be easy for one person might be more difficult for another, and vice versa
Sometimes a person just can’t quit weed all on their own, and must seek professional help and advice. But medical aid is not always really necessary, and it’s actually generally recommended by physicians that you don’t go in for hospitalization when you’re trying to quit weed.
Nevertheless, sometimes an institution can actually help you by creating an environment that’s not conducive to smoking weed
For example, if you trying quitting weed at home, you have an entire circle of friends who probably smoke marijuana, and if you interact with them everyday you’re going to find quitting weed extremely difficult.
In an institutional environment, this peer-pressure doesn’t exist.
But, you can quit weed – and quite easily – without the help of an institution
It’s best to visit a doctor and have him evaluate your health before you begin withdrawal from weed, as he’ll be able to assess whether you have any health problems that have been caused by smoking weed.
Make sure you tell the doctor if you are smoking or using more than one substance, as this will be essential to his analysis of your possible health issues.
Don’t ask the doctor to prescribe medicine that can help you to quit, because, no such medication exists, though your doctor can help you if you have unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal.
Did you know that not everyone will actually experience withdrawal while quitting weed?
Even those who have smoked weed for years can sometimes escape symptoms of withdrawal. It seems to be based upon the individual. Some people experience withdrawal and others do not. If you do experience withdrawal, the symptoms are not life threatening, but tend to be more a sort of irritability.
You may find yourself becoming aggressive or nervous, or giving in to your anger
Feelings of anxiety or feelings of sadness and melancholy are quite common. You might also have problems sleeping at first, as sleep patterns are disrupted when a person first experiences marijuana withdrawal. You might have the odd headache, and your eyes might be sensitive to light for a little while.
Whatever these issues are, they pass quite quickly if you stay on the path, and pretty soon they will be only a memory. Just how long do withdrawal symptoms last?
Well, you shouldn’t expect any withdrawal symptoms to last more than three days or so, and very often they drop off after the first day itself. Try to get the help and support of friends and family. Of course, if you get the support of friends, these should be those who do not have a marijuana habit.
The Effects of THC on the Brain
Marijuana affects the brain through cannabinoid receptors within the matrix of the brain that actually respond to the active agent in marijuana, THC. The cannabinoid receptors in the brain are designated CB1 and CB2, respectively. It is the interaction of THC with these receptors that creates all the effects experienced by marijuana users.
When THC interacts with the cannabinoid receptor CB1, it affects the higher functions of the brain, including elements like cognition and memory
To a great extent, movement is also affected as well. The direct short-term effects of THC on CB1 will tend to reduce anxiety, though in certain cases, due to the unique brain chemistry and structure of an individual, it can cause depression.
Pain can also be reduced to a considerable extent, and it can give the illusion of heightened senses.
Most disturbingly, the production of hormones is directly affected. Another very disturbing element of THC’s interaction with the receptor CB1 is that mind-body co-ordination and motor skills are seriously impaired.
CB1 receptors, under the effects of THC, have such far reaching effects on the body because the CB1 receptors are scattered throughout the brain, and therefore affect the interaction and activity of the brain at many levels.
CB2 receptors are more rare in the structure of the brain, but the effect that THC has upon them, while not so obvious, is nevertheless, very serious
When THC affects the CB2 receptors, this directly impacts the immune system. The peripheral nerves are also massively affected, leading to a distortion of sensory perception. Finally, just as seriously, the vas deferens is affected, which affect fertility and ejaculation.
THC’s interaction with CB1 and CB2 also has a more serious effect, in that it drains the brain of crucial neurotransmitters
These include glutamate, serotonin, dopamine, and many more. The combined effect of this unnatural effect upon brain chemistry and function is considerably reduced capability in intellect and memory. While this is a very temporary effect if marijuana is used in the short-term, often lasting no more than a day or two after the use of marijuana, if marijuana is consistently used over a long period of time, this may cause an equally long-term effect upon the brain’s chemistry.
Most disturbingly, if pregnant women use marijuana, it can have permanent effects on their children. Children whose mothers used marijuana when they were pregnant show a permanent loss of cognitive capability, memory capacity and brain function.
The effects of synthetic marijuana
Products called synthetic marijuana are spreading through the market with disastrous and sometimes fatal results. For example, only recently, three teenage boys suffered heart attacks after using a synthetic known as spice.
While many users rejoice in the fact that manufacturers are able to bypass government restrictions, what many of them don’t realize is that this bypassing of restrictions occurs because what they’re using is nothing like marijuana at all!
A similar experience, but dangerous side effects…
While synthetic marijuana offers an experience that is similar to that provided by real marijuana, in reality, the chemical composition of synthetic marijuana is quite different from that of real marijuana. Not only that, but bypassing government restrictions means that it is not safe to use, and can often be life threatening.
While the government is trying to adapt to this influx of extremely dangerous substances, and while the government has put in an emergency ban on some of the synthetic marijuana products out there, the fact remains that a great many of them remain legal and can be sold to virtually anyone, often over the counter.
Almost no study has been done on the short- or long-term effects of these substances on human health, and virtually all of them can potentially cause serious health problems, or even be fatal.
These substances sell under a number of names, such as, red x don, blaze, or K2
They are becoming very popular among young people today, because most of them cannot be detected by a standard drug test. Most of them are also very easily available, as they are often marketed as bath salts, and such, and hence, can be sold over the counter, and a young consumer can buy them knowing that they are breaking no laws.
Most of these synthetic marijuana products work in a manner similar to the active component in real marijuana, which is THC – they activate the same receptors in the brain, giving a high that is similar to marijuana.
However, because their chemical composition is quite different, they can have all sorts of severe side-effects, which real marijuana will not create.
The problem is that many young people think that just because a substance looks like it’s made of herbs (synthetic marijuana is usually chemicals mixed into various herbs to give a marijuana-like look and feel), and because it gives a high that feels similar to marijuana, the substance must be closely related to marijuana.
The reality is that this is anything but the truth. Worse than that, because synthetic marijuana uses chemicals to create the effects that marijuana usually creates, it can have a much more intense effect upon the brain, causing psychotic disorders, as well as hallucinations and feelings of intense anxiety. In serious cases, seizures can also occur.
The indisputable dangers of street marijuana
There’s a disturbing relation between intellectual capability and marijuana use, and I don’t mean that in a positive way. Studies have shown an unquestionable link between a drop in intellectual capacity and marijuana use, and most disturbingly, the earlier a person started using marijuana in the course of their life, the greater the drop.
The largest drops in IQ were observed in those who had started using marijuana during their teens
These disturbing findings make it crucially important that we discourage marijuana use during the teen years. There are other disturbing trends in marijuana use, one of which is, that marijuana has massively increased in potency over the last two or three decades.
This means that the chances of addiction among users are considerably higher than they were in, for example, the nineteen-eighties. The amount of THC (the active element of marijuana) in street marijuana has jumped from three-and-a-half percent to a massive nine percent within the last fifteen years
Another disturbing trend is the number of minors being admitted to hospitals and similar centers for issues connected with marijuana abuse… and such admissions have soared by nearly two hundred percent, again, during the last fifteen years.
These figures represent a sharp contrast, because rates of admission for alcohol abuse in medical centers among minors has fallen by more than half in the same period of time.
Worst of all, there is a definite trend for marijuana sold on the street to be seriously contaminated, and for these contaminants to often be injurious to the health in either the short- or long-term.
Since marijuana is sold by weight, dealers on the street will often add various contaminants to increase the weight of the marijuana. Contaminants can include seriously hazardous materials such as glass beads, or even sand.
When marijuana with these impurities is smoked, these heated contaminants may be inhaled into the lungs, causing inflammation or serious scarring of lung tissue. No studies have been done to test the health effects of daily usage of contaminated marijuana.
Legalization is no guarantee against human greed
Remember that even if marijuana is legalized, these laws will not guarantee that marijuana sold on the street will be safe from contaminants, or of a level of quality sufficient to not be overtly hazardous to a person’s health. Similarly, as soaring levels of THC in marijuana pose a serious threat of addiction, laws should also standardize levels of THC to those that are considered acceptable.
The health risks posed by marijuana are unmistakable, and legalization is certainly not always the best option.
Weed detox – Ways to handle marijuana withdrawal
I’ve heard people claim that there is no such thing as a marijuana addiction, and therefore, withdrawal is not necessary. A few decades ago, people used to actually believe this, because marijuana has very unique withdrawal symptoms, quite different from the symptoms associated with other drugs.
People thought that marijuana did not have withdrawal symptoms quite simply because they didn’t recognize the symptoms for what they are.
However, studies over the last few decades have shown that not only do symptoms of withdrawal exist when a person tries to quit marijuana, but these symptoms are very definite and distinctive.
Generally speaking, no one but a person who is a chronic user will experience withdrawal symptoms
A person who is withdrawing from the drug will experience a period of intense irritability in which aggression is far higher than normal.
They will also experience intense anxiety, as marijuana is often used as a coping device by people who naturally suffer from anxiety. If this is the case, a person will be far more anxious than they were before they started using the drug.
Other psychological symptoms may manifest themselves, such as paranoia. Physically, the user will have very little appetite, which may result in weight loss. Users undergoing withdrawal will also experience disrupted sleep patterns.
Depression and discomfort
All these issues together, as well as the depletion of neurotransmitters in the brain, may lead to depression. Many people who use marijuana are depressed even before they start withdrawal, at least when they are not on the drug.
In a chronic user, there may be physical symptoms, such as a pain in the head or in the stomach
A person who has used marijuana extensively for years may actually experience tremors. Another classic symptom of marijuana withdrawal is extensive sweating.
Very few medical institutions will actually offer you a withdrawal plan, as marijuana withdrawal is not usually treated medically. Nevertheless, you will find support organizations that, for a fee, will help you to withdraw from marijuana. There are also some government bodies that run free detoxification programs.
It’s a little known fact that most marijuana addictions actually begin in the mind, when a person starts using the drug as a means to dealing with some major issue in life.
With this in mind, counselors and therapists can actual help you with withdrawal. Various forms of counseling have been shown to be quite effective in assisting with marijuana withdrawal.
There are also specially trained drug counselors that you can find online, or in your local yellow pages. These drug counselors will not only help you deal with the basic issues of withdrawal, but they may also be able to refer you to other experts who can assist you with different other aspects of withdrawal.
This is because much of marijuana use is based upon one’s lifestyle, so changing one’s lifestyle can make withdrawal from marijuana easy and effortless.
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