Marijuana, also known as weed or pot, is often considered a harmless and natural herb. But as with anything, too much of it can become a problem.
Some people think you can't get addicted to marijuana, but science tells us that's not true. When someone can't stop using something, even if it's causing harm, it’s still an addiction.
Let's explore what marijuana addiction means and how to get help.
What is Marijuana Addiction?
Marijuana addiction is when a person can't stop using the drug, even when it's hurting them physically or mentally. As with other drugs, using marijuana changes the brain. Over time, the brain gets used to having marijuana.
This means that a person might need to use more of it to get the same effect and may feel bad when they're not using it. This is called "tolerance" and "dependence."
It tends to follow a cycle that starts with initiation when a person first tries marijuana. This can then lead to regular use as they turn to it more often.
The more it’s used, the more likely an individual will develop a tolerance, meaning they need more marijuana to feel the same effects. From there, they reach a level of dependence as their body and brain get used to marijuana, and they develop a need for it.
The final stage of the cycle is withdrawal. This occurs if they try to stop and they feel bad or get worse without it.
Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
Knowing the signs of marijuana addiction can help spot if someone might have a problem. If you or someone you know shows these signs, it might be time to get help:
- Using more than usual: A person might need to use a lot more marijuana to feel good.
- Can't cut down: They've tried to use less or quit, but they can't.
- Lots of time getting high: They spend a lot of their time using marijuana or getting it.
- Skipping out on life: Missing out on work, school, or fun activities because of marijuana.
- Feeling bad without it: They feel sick, anxious, or very sad when they don't use marijuana.
Physical signs include:
- Changes in how they eat, maybe eating a lot more or a lot less.
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Red eyes, dry mouth, or feeling dizzy.
Emotions change too with symptoms like:
- Moodiness or getting mad easily.
- Feeling worried, nervous, or paranoid.
- Losing interest in things they used to enjoy.
The above signs don't always mean someone is addicted, but they're clues that there might be a problem. If these signs sound familiar, it's time to talk to someone who can help.
Impact and Effects of Marijuana
Using marijuana might feel good at the moment, but it can have some not-so-great effects on our bodies and minds. Here's what could happen:
- Brain: Marijuana affects how our brain works. This might make it hard to think clearly, learn, or remember things.
- Lungs: Just like with cigarettes, smoking marijuana can hurt our lungs. It can make someone cough a lot, get sick more frequently, or feel short of breath.
- Heart: After using marijuana, the heart beats faster. This can be dangerous for some people, depending on their health background.
- Mental Health: Some people feel anxious, sad, or scared after using marijuana. For others, these feelings can last a long time, even if they stop using marijuana.
- Life Troubles: People with marijuana addiction might have problems at work, in school, or with friends and family. They might stop doing things they love or get in trouble with the law.
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
If someone is struggling with marijuana addiction, there are options available. Treatment can help them get back on track. Here's what can be part of that journey:
- Counseling: Talking to a therapist can help someone understand why they use marijuana and find new ways to cope without it.
- Support Groups: Meeting other people who are going through the same thing can be comforting. They can share stories, tips, and give each other support.
- Medication: Some people find certain medicines help with cravings or the bad feelings that come when they stop using marijuana.
- Stay Busy: Doing other fun or helpful things can keep someone's mind off marijuana. This could be exercise, art, music, or volunteering.
Get Assistance with Marijuana Addiction Today
If you or someone you know is struggling with marijuana, you're not alone. It's okay to ask for help.
If you see the signs or are worried, reach out to Aurora Behavioral Health-Arizona today. We will guide you and help you through the recovery process.