The cannabis plant, from which marijuana is derived, is one of the oldest crops in the world. It is no wonder then that marijuana has a long history and is the most commonly used drug in the United States and around the globe. Proponents of marijuana have long lobbied for its legalization, and it has. Though still illegal under federal law, there are only eight states where marijuana remains entirely unlawful.
While it is true that marijuana alone does not carry the risks of overdose or death, it is not harmless. Chronic, heavy marijuana use can lead to cannabis use disorder, for which you can receive care at a marijuana addiction treatment program. The professionals at Harmony Hills can help you or a loved one overcome the debilitating effects of heavy marijuana use. Learn more about treatment options by calling 855.494.0357.
What Is Cannabis Use Disorder?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is a manual for assessing and diagnosing mental health disorders. According to the DSM-5, cannabis use disorder is the continued use of cannabis despite the serious distress or impairment it causes. Depending upon the number of symptoms an individual has, cannabis use disorder is classified as either mild, moderate, or severe.
When it comes to self-awareness around substance use, it can be challenging to look at your behavior objectively. Recognizing the following warning signs of addiction can help:
- Having an increased tolerance or needing more to get the same desired effects
- Inability to cut down or discontinue use
- Using marijuana to escape your problems
- Spending the majority of your time trying to get, use, or recover from marijuana
- Having cravings for marijuana or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using
- Ignoring responsibilities such as work, school, and self-care
- Continuing to use marijuana despite negative consequences
Compared to other substances, the withdrawal symptoms of marijuana are mild. They include difficulty sleeping, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite, and restlessness. If you experience these symptoms when you try to stop using, you should seek professional marijuana addiction treatment.
The Health Effects of Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana can be smoked, made into teas, or mixed into foods, referred to as edibles. A danger of edibles is that people often ingest more than planned because they take longer to take effect. Recently, it has become common to use THC oil in a vaporizer, known as “vaping.” Current research on vaping shows that it can be more harmful to the lungs because of other components, such as trace metals and vitamin C acetate. Vaping also delivers a much more potent dose.
The potency of marijuana has steadily increased over the years, raising concerns that the dangers of marijuana use today can be more serious than in the past. Although proponents of marijuana contend that smoking pot does not have adverse effects, research indicates otherwise.
Among the adverse short-term effects of marijuana use are the following:
- Short-term memory impairment
- Impaired motor coordination
- Altered senses and sense of time
- Difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
- Increased heart rate and respiratory problems
Long-term Effects of Marijuana Abuse
While the effects of smoking marijuana are almost immediate, edibles produce a slower onset of effects that typically last longer. Marijuana usually creates a euphoric, relaxed feeling, but it can also instill paranoia and anxiety.
The side effects of long-term, heavy marijuana use can include:
- Altered brain function and development, especially for the young
- Memory impairments
- Depression and anxiety disorders
- Chronic respiratory problems
- Low motivation and decreased quality of life
- Dependency or addiction
When marijuana use begins in adolescence, individuals are more likely to develop significant cognitive impairments and transition to harder drugs and alcohol. Statistically, long-term, heavy users of marijuana are more likely to abuse other substances and have co-occurring mental health disorders.
Discover the Benefits of Marijuana Addiction Treatment
While marijuana use does not cause physical dependencies like alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, it can cause psychological dependency and lead to addiction. Through our years of experience in substance abuse treatment, we have seen that addiction is often the result of an underlying mental health condition. That is why at Harmony Hills, we provide a holistic approach to individualized treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Call us today at 855.494.0357 to learn more about the programs we offer.