What is marijuana, and what does it do when someone uses it?
Marijuana is the dried leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds from the hemp plant or cannabis plant. The primary active ingredient in marijuana is a mind-altering chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illegal and legal drugs in the United States, depending on what state you are in. It is estimated that over 45% of Americans over the age of 12 have used marijuana at least once in his or her life. Eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana and 33 states that have legalized medical marijuana, among many other states that have decriminalized marijuana. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level by way of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and is classified as a Schedule I drug. There are over 200 different slang terms for marijuana, and it is often classified as a depressant, but can also have stimulant and even hallucinogenic properties.
The common side effects of marijuana use include altered senses, mood changes, difficult thinking, impaired memory, and copious amounts have the potential to cause hallucinations, psychosis, and delusions, especially when mixed with other drugs. Within the brain are nerve cells that contain receptors that bind to THC. This essentially sets off a series of cellular reactions that lead to the high people experience when they use marijuana. The drug is used recreationally because it elevates a person’s mood and relaxes them. The level of THC in marijuana determines what the overall effect will be and how the persons respond to marijuana. The most common method of use for marijuana is to smoke the drug, whether rolled into a cigarette, in a pipe or water bong. Edible marijuana is also popular, and vaping marijuana has become popular among adolescents and young adults.
Marijuana is problematic among adolescents because it has long-term effects on mental abilities, such as memory, learning, and cognitive abilities. Most teens who start to use marijuana will struggle with school and things that require memory and the use of cognitive abilities. Smoking marijuana also increases the risk of respiratory issues, such as lung infections and bronchitis. The carcinogens found in marijuana smoke are more toxic than those found in cigarettes; however, there have been no recorded cases of someone contracting cancer from marijuana use. The cancer cases that have been connected to marijuana cases involved people who were either heavy smokers or heavy drinkers. There is an inherent risk when using marijuana, and there are also numerous reasons why someone chooses to use marijuana.
Some of the common reasons why someone chooses to use marijuana include a need to relieve stress or tension. The average American lives a stressful life and will often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress they are dealing with. Other individuals use marijuana as an escape from the problems they are facing in life. It does become much easier to avoid problems with drugs or alcohol, but these problems do become worse with continued use of marijuana. Marijuana is commonly used to alleviate boredom, and this is a common reason why many people started to abuse drugs or alcohol. Drugs such as marijuana provide new feelings that relieve the feeling of being bored. The feel-good and euphoric effects of marijuana are enough for many Americans to use the drugs. Cannabis provides that false sense of feeling good and heightens emotions. Adolescents will choose to smoke to marijuana to fit in, and peer pressure is still a common motivator for why many teens use marijuana.
Marijuana Addiction Intervention and Treatment
Long-term marijuana use does cause varying physical and psychological effects, which are resolved during treatment. However, the process of getting someone to a drug rehab program is not always easy. The best approach is to hire a professional interventionist who would help the family take control and save the life of the addict. The first step is contacting an intervention group or an intervention professional. There are professional intervention groups across the nation performing interventions and helping families. An interventionist has the qualifications and training to help and counsel a family and organize a professional intervention. Most times, marijuana is part of a larger addiction problem, but there are those individuals entirely addicted to marijuana.
Daily marijuana users struggle with addiction and difficulty stopping. Marijuana, like alcohol, is widely accepted in many states and in most social circles, which makes it difficult for an addict to choose to stop. Intervention guides an addict to understand the dangers of addiction and how their addiction is impacting their life and the lives of people around them. When contact is made with an interventionist, there is a significant amount of time spent on the phone going over the process and answering questions. The first day spent with the family is the family education day, which is where the entire intervention is organized and planned.
The first step in planning the intervention is deciding who will be there, and these are the close the family and friends who will not succumb to the person addicted to drugs. The planning involves lining up a treatment program, transportation, the location of the intervention, and the consequences if the drug-addicted person does not decide to attend treatment. It is essential for those involved in the intervention to stick together and remain committed to helping their loved one addicted to marijuana.
The treatment process for a marijuana addiction begins with detox, and typically it is a conventional detox program. Most marijuana addicts do not struggle with dangerous withdrawal symptoms unless they are abusing other drugs like prescription medication. Most conventional detox programs are attached to inpatient or outpatient treatment centers. Detox from marijuana is not lengthy and may only last two or three days. The purpose of detox is to stabilize the person before counseling or therapy. Residential drug rehabilitation is always the best option because it provides a distraction-free and safe environment. However, depending on the severity of the addiction, the best options include short-term and long-term residential drug rehabilitation.
Following treatment, the next step would involve aftercare support, which includes remaining connected to peer support groups. Even someone recovering from a marijuana addiction benefits from aftercare support. Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the nation, along with alcohol. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, past-year marijuana use increased from 11% in 2002 to 17.5% in 2019, among those aged 12 and older.
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