Marijuana is an addictive psychoactive drug that causes a pleasanteuphoric feeling, and heightened sensory perception. It affects the brain by impairing the development of cognition, learning, neuro-transmissions and memory. Long-term use of marijuana causes structural brain damage and increases the risk of developing brain disorders such as schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety, depression and others. Marijuana also affects the respiratory system causing infections and pneumonia, and causes a rapid heart rate.
Marijuana contains the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which causes addiction to the drug. Marijuana that has been confiscated by law enforcement has been shown to be much more potent than before. The newer strains have higher amounts of THC in them, creating a greater risk for addiction. Sinsemilla is a new, specially grown female marijuana plant with a much higher potency. In the 1990’s, confiscated marijuana contained 3.7% of THC and sinsemilla contained 7.5%. In 2013, confiscated marijuana contained 9.6% THC and sinsemilla contained 16%. Hash oil which is extracted from the marijuana plant, has a high THC content and can be eaten or smoked. Hash oil contains about 50% THC content, and some confiscated extracts contained over 80%. Addiction to marijuana is becoming easier with these new strains.
The long-term effects of marijuana with higher THC content have not yet been determined. Researchers do not know how it will affect the brain and body. Hospital emergency rooms are reporting an increase of visits among people who are using high potency marijuana.
Marijuana Withdrawal and Recovery
The withdrawal symptoms of marijuana can be both physical and psychological. The withdrawal process begins by having the marijuana removed from the body. The THC compound in the marijuana is stored in the fat cells of the body and may take months before it is releasedout of the body. Crash dieting and major weight loss will release the THC from the body sooner, but this is not recommended.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms have a wide range and may include: loss of concentration, insomnia, depression, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, anger, fever, chills, fear, nightmares, vivid dreams, fluctuating libido, euphoria, sweating, shaking, headache, restlessness, reduced appetite, abdominal pain and emotional jags.
Recovery involves many different modalities. Psychological and group therapy will help you stay mentally strong and focused on getting well. Holistic therapies run the gamut from: soaking in a hot bath, reducing or eliminating caffeine, getting plenty of rest, listening to relaxing music, doing exercise or yoga, playing games or sports, reading a book etc. Whatever brings peace and pleasure should be added to the recovery list of things to do.
Addiction usually causes dehydration in the body but it can be reversed by drinking lots of fluids and adding potassium to the diet. Some foods that contain potassium are: green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, tomatoes, bananas and melon. Good nutritious food and vitamin/mineral supplements will help the body and mind heal faster.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.