Am I Experiencing Side Effects of Marijuana or Signs of Dependence?

Am I Experiencing Side Effects of Marijuana or Signs of Dependence?

Many people begin using drugs like marijuana with the intention of only trying it once. This first experience may be due to a personal curiosity or could be a result of peer pressure. Regardless of why marijuana users try it for the first time, it is easy to be lured into using it again and again. Eventually, the cycle of marijuana use can grow so strong that the body begins to undergo chemical changes. Some may experience an increase in irritation throughout the day, while others may notice that they are simply feeling sick more frequently than usual. Symptoms like these can often be attributed as side effects of marijuana, though some symptoms may also indicate the development of drug dependence.

Side Effects of Marijuana Use

Side effects are an inevitable part of drug use, even with marijuana. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, some of the short-term effects of using marijuana include the following:

  • Sensory distortion
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Poor coordination
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Increased heart rate

In addition to these effects, frequent marijuana use can also lead to the development of additional side effects. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World reports the following as long-term effects of marijuana:

  • Suppressed immune system
  • Growth disorders
  • Increase in cell-structure abnormalities
  • Reduced male sex hormones, such as testosterone
  • Permanent damage to lung fibers and the brain
  • Reduced sexual capacity
  • Difficulty learning and retaining information
  • Drowsiness and lack of motivation
  • Personality and mood changes

The development of these symptoms can be distressing, especially when it impacts performance in work or school. The only true solution to reducing these symptoms is to discontinue marijuana use and seek treatment if you have a dependence on the drug.

Signs of Marijuana Dependence

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dependence is a state in which a person only functions normally when he or she has used a drug. Without the use of the drug, the dependent person develops a physical disturbance known as withdrawal. A common misconception with marijuana is that dependence cannot occur. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana dependence and addiction are actually somewhat common. The NIDA reports that nearly 9 percent of marijuana users develop an addiction, which can manifest with a number of symptoms. Some common symptoms of marijuana dependence include the following:

  • Using more marijuana than intended
  • Inability to stop using marijuana, despite serious attempts
  • Mental preoccupation with acquiring and using marijuana
  • Using marijuana despite health, legal, financial, and social consequences

When those who are dependent on marijuana stop using it for a period of time, they can experience withdrawal symptoms, which may include the following:

  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Marijuana cravings

These withdrawal symptoms are not only uncomfortable, but can also present a roadblock for those who are trying to stop using marijuana. This is why it is important for marijuana addicts to take their recovery seriously and seek the help of trained professionals for treatment.

Get Help for Marijuana Addiction

The right treatment can help marijuana addicts set the stage for a successful recovery experience. Therefore, if you or a loved one has become addicted to marijuana, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for marijuana addiction.