Important Things to Learn About Marijuana

Important Things to Learn About Marijuana

As more and more states legalize the use of medical and recreational marijuana, the use of this drug continues to increase around the country. Unfortunately, many marijuana users take the drug without first learning about it. Even those that do research the drug can be easily misled by conflicting information from unreliable sources. The following are a few important things to learn about marijuana.

Marijuana Has Several Side Effects

Many people falsely believe that marijuana has no serious side effects. However, this is hardly the case. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, short-term effects of marijuana include the following:

  • Sensory distortion
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Impaired coordination
  • Lowered reaction time
  • An initial “up” followed by sleepiness or depression

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World also lists long-term effects of marijuana use, including the following:

  • Suppressed immune system
  • Growth disorders
  • Reduction in male sex hormones
  • Destruction of lung fibers
  • Reduced sexual capacity
  • Apathy and lack of motivation
  • Personality changes

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that marijuana can speed a person’s heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after use. Because of this, marijuana users are at greater risk of cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack.

In addition to these physical side effects, marijuana use can also affect mental health. Two possible short-term effects include paranoia and hallucinations. NIDA reports that marijuana can also intensify symptoms of schizophrenia in those who have the condition. Furthermore, long-term use of marijuana can contribute to additional mental health illnesses, such as depression.

The Potency of Marijuana Has Increased Over Time

Both users and nonusers of marijuana should be aware that the potency of marijuana has gradually increased. According to NIDA, the concentration of THC in marijuana was just four percent in the 1980s. In 2012, the concentration was as high as 15 percent. Those who have used marijuana for years may not notice the steady increase in potency, but new users may certainly feel the effects. Those new to using marijuana may take a dose that is much more potent than anticipated. A higher potency may also contribute to an increase in THC-related side effects.

Addiction and Withdrawal Can Occur with Long-Term Marijuana Use

One of the most common misconceptions about marijuana is that it is a non-addictive substance. NIDA reports that nearly nine percent of users develop an addition to this drug. The more often it is used, the greater the chance of addiction developing.

With long-term abuse of marijuana, certain chemicals in the body may eventually increase or decrease in levels as a means of counterbalancing the effects of marijuana in the system. Once marijuana is no longer used, this chemical shift takes time to revert back to normal, which results in withdrawal symptoms. A few common withdrawal symptoms of marijuana include the following:

  • Marijuana cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite

Fortunately, these withdrawal symptoms only last a brief period of time and can be greatly reduced with the assistance of a treatment team trained in the care of addiction and withdrawal.

Get Help for Marijuana Addiction

Recovering from addiction can help you to find health and happiness in your life once again. 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.