What Are the Consequences: Marijuana Addiction

Being addicted to any drug carries with it certain negative consequences that affect physical health, mental health, personal relationships, finances, and just about every other aspect of life. Marijuana is not an exception. Although it may take longer for dependence to occur as compared to other drugs, the consequences of marijuana addiction are real nonetheless.

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that has both short- and long-term effects on the brain. Both are directly related to the amount of THC in the strain of marijuana being used. THC is a potent chemical compound that can pass to the brain very quickly when the drug is smoked. Whether smoked or ingested, the effects of marijuana can last between 30 and 60 minutes.

When the THC in marijuana reaches the brain, it interferes with brain cell receptors that normally deal with similar chemicals. The results include:

  • altered senses (especially vision and hearing)
  • an altered sense of time
  • mood changes (both positive and negative)
  • impaired body movement and control
  • impaired memory
  • loss of cognitive function, including problem-solving.

Regular marijuana users describe the feelings the drug produces as euphoric. Users feel as though they can escape to their own drug-induced fantasy world where the problems of every-day life cannot reach them. They also tend to wax philosophically over some of life’s most basic questions. They tend to feel very little pain and do not respond well to surrounding stimuli.

Marijuana Addiction Is Possible

One of the biggest controversies surrounding marijuana is the question of whether it is addictive or not. We used to think that it was not. However, numerous studies conducted over the last ten years have changed our understanding. We now know that marijuana is addictive if a person uses it long enough. Addiction does not develop as quickly as it does with stronger drugs such as cocaine and meth, but marijuana can still lead to addiction over time.

Part of the misunderstanding of cannabis addiction is the fact that it tends to be psychological rather than physical. In other words, opioids such as heroin affect the body in such a way as to cause a very real physical dependence in which the body cannot operate normally without the drug in the system. Cannabis does not have that strong an effect on the body. But it does have a very strong effect on the mind.

Marijuana users can become psychologically dependent to the extent that they find it unimaginable to live without using the drug regularly. Marijuana controls their lives; their friends tend to be other marijuana users; they are more likely to get high alone; and they find that they smoke marijuana because they feel they have to rather than because it is enjoyable. The drug can produce intense cravings and well, which doesn’t help.

Long-Term Risks of Marijuana Addiction

The medical community has had a difficult time convincing the general public of the dangers of marijuana use. Since the drug is socially acceptable and assumed by a lot of people to be largely harmless, users tend to give very little thought to the long-term consequences of using marijuana over many years.

Marijuana addiction can lead to both physical and psychological problems. The physical problems are as follows:

  • Respiratory – Marijuana smokers are at greater risk of developing respiratory illnesses such as emphysema and asthma. Smoking damages the lungs no matter the substance being used.
  • Cancer – Like tobacco smokers, marijuana smokers are at increased risk of lung cancer. That risk is increased when marijuana and tobacco are combined.
  • Heart Problems – Marijuana use can increase heart rate and blood pressure for several hours. Prolonged marijuana use is therefore linked to heart problems, including heart attack and cardiovascular disease.
  • Infertility – Both men and women are at risk of developing infertility as a result of marijuana addiction.
  • Child Development – Women who use marijuana are putting their developing children at risk. Babies can experience brain damage that can lead to developmental and behavioural problems after birth.

The psychological consequences of using marijuana long-term are as follows:

  • Hallucinations and Paranoia – Both hallucinations and paranoia are common complaints among marijuana users. Most of the time these symptoms are temporary, lasting only as long as a person is high.
  • Schizophrenia – Long-term marijuana addiction can lead to the psychotic illness known as schizophrenia. This illness is a long-term illness that includes a range of symptoms such as visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoia, and an inability to think rationally.
  • Depression and Anxiety – People who use marijuana over an extended period of time are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Young people are even more susceptible than adults due to brains that are still developing.
  • Loss of Cognition and Memory – Studies have shown that long-term marijuana use can cause permanent loss of cognition. Over time, marijuana addicts lose their problem-solving skills, do not learn new things as easily, develop memory problems, and have trouble connecting their thoughts in a logical and rational way.

It Does Not End There

We have listed the known physical and psychological impacts of marijuana addiction. But things do not end there. In addition to the drug damaging your physical and mental health, continuing to use marijuana can make your life miserable. Regular marijuana users are at greater risk of damage to their personal relationships – especially where spouses and children are concerned.

Of course, there is the financial aspect as well. Spending money on marijuana means spending money that could be used for other things. If marijuana addiction impairs your ability to do your job, your financial situation could be made worse by you losing that job.

You may consider marijuana use harmless for the most part. Take it from the experts; it is not. Marijuana addiction is very real; it destroys lives every single day. You do not have to allow it to destroy yours. If you call and speak to one of our counsellors, we will help you get the treatment you need to stop using marijuana altogether.

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