Many people have experimented with marijana, and some can use it casually or recreationally without adverse effects. Others become dependent on it, developing both a psychological and physical addiction. Derived from the flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant, marijuana is unusual in that it can function as a depressant, a stimulant and a psychedelic hallucinogen.
While the most common way to use marijuana is to smoke it (either through hand-rolled joints or through water pipes known as bongs), different ways of taking it have emerged with its greater popularity. In particular, younger people seem to be attracted to edible forms of marijuana in which the psychoactive chemical THC — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — is added to treats like gummies, candies and brownies. Marijuana can also be vaped in much the same way as nicotine e-cigarettes.
Meanwhile, THC can be concentrated to create especially strong forms of marijuana-based drugs. For example, the resin can be concentrated to create hashish (or hash). Other forms include a butter-like substance (known as “budder”) or a clear substance called “shatter” that resembles hard candy. Both budder and shatter are significantly more potent than the plant forms of marijuana.
You may also be familiar with CBD, or cannabinoids. These compounds are related to THC but are generally used for pain relief and other medicinal purposes. While mass-market CBD is legal and doesn’t contain the same psychoactive chemicals that cause a marijuana high, it’s also not regulated by the FDA. That means there’s no way to know for certain what chemicals (and at what potency) comprise CBD products.
It’s not always easy to know when casual marijuana use has become an addiction. Ultimately, it comes down to the substance’s negative effects on your life — and your need to use it anyway. Here are some signs that you may have developed a dependence on cannabis and need help to stop using.
If you do suspect you’ve developed an addiction to marijuana, we can help. In fact, Golden Peak Recovery has helped many individuals overcome their reliance on marijuana. We can help you, too.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides some marijuana addiction stats that may surprise you: Nine percent of people who use marijuana will develop a dependence on it; of those who start using marijuana in their teens, 17 percent will become dependent.
Approximately 2.6 million people in the U.S. try marijuana for the first time each year. More and more states are legalizing recreational marijuana use, so it’s no surprise that it’s become increasingly available — and in a greater variety of forms.
There is considerable debate as to whether or not marijuana is a “gateway drug” that leads to the use of more dangerous and more addictive substances. However, it is widely known that many people begin experimenting with marijuana before moving on to other drugs. Meanwhile, studies have shown that THC can alter neural pathways in the brain, creating a necessity for the substance to ensure functioning. Other studies have suggested that marijuana use in childhood and/or adolescence is often associated with drug abuse and use later in life.
There are many myths that marijuana isn’t physically addictive. That’s not the case. Marijuana can lead to both psychological and physical dependence, including withdrawal symptoms such as mood disorders, cravings, restlessness, sleep disturbances, irritability, and decreased appetite.
In addition to medically supervised drug detox to help with the physical symptoms of withdrawal, Golden Peak Recovery provides a variety of effective therapeutic approaches to treating marijuana dependence. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy have demonstrated success for those struggling with marijuana addiction.
Remember, dependence on marijuana isn’t anything to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s much more common than people realize. Give us a call today, and let us help you find a better way to deal with life’s challenges. We’re ready when you are.