What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a substance that’s derived from the cannabis plant.
The ingredient in marijuana that causes individuals to get high is THC,
or tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabis plants that contain more than 0.3% of
THC in them are considered marijuana.
It’s easier now than ever to get marijuana as more and more states
have begun to legalize it. Marijuana is currently legal for medicinal
purposes in 34 U.S. states (as of 2021), and 19 U.S. states, plus the
District of Columbia and Guam, have gone so far as to make marijuana legal
for recreational purposes as well. However, marijuana remains illegal
at the federal level.
Due to the growing legalization of marijuana, more people are getting their
hands on this substance. This is evident in that studies show more than
45% of adults in the U.S. have smoked weed before. On top of that, other
reputable studies state that 1 and 8 adults are avid marijuana users.
Alarmingly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse
reports that marijuana-related medical emergencies have also increased in recent
years. However, the organization notes that it is unknown whether these
emergencies were related to the quantity of marijuana consumed, the potency
of the marijuana, or other factors.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain & Body?
When individuals use marijuana, cannabinoid receptors in the brain are
activated by a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Then, the psychoactive
ingredient in marijuana known as THC blocks and imitates the actions of
the activated neurotransmitters. This primarily affects the brain’s
reward center, or the area responsible for regulating pleasure and reward.
Over time, the brain loses its ability to self-regulate, meaning the individual
is likely to become dependent on marijuana to complete these functions.
Marijuana also affects areas of the brain responsible for thinking, learning,
and performing complex tasks, as well as areas that regulate coordination,
balance, posture, and reactions. As a result, someone who is high on marijuana
will experience poor cognitive ability, difficulty learning or completing
tasks, and issues with bodily movement, stability, and reaction time.
For this reason, it is very unsafe for anyone to operate a motor vehicle
while under the influence of marijuana.
Over time, chronic marijuana use causes chemical changes in the brain.
Soon, the brain becomes dependent on marijuana to function and release
certain chemicals, including “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine.
Once a person’s brain makes chemical changes and becomes dependent
on marijuana to perform certain actions, that person has a marijuana addiction.
Is Marijuana Addicting
Marijuana use can lead to the development of problem use, known as a marijuana
use disorder, which takes the form of addiction in severe cases.
Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
Every person with a substance addiction is also dependent on that substance,
but not everyone who is dependent on a drug is addicted. Therefore, it’s
important to distinguish between marijuana withdrawal or dependency symptoms
and the symptoms of marijuana addiction.
Common symptoms of marijuana addiction include:
- Dry mouth
- Memory loss
- Trouble learning
- Rapid heartbeat
- Slow reaction time
- Loss of self-control
- Distorted perception
- Impaired coordination
- Inability to think straight
- Trouble problem solving
- Wet, mucus-filled cough
- Bloodshot and/or blurry eyes
Marijuana Addiction Statistics
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana is
the third most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S., following
alcohol and tobacco—and its use is on the rise. A survey found that
over 11.8 million young adults admitted to using marijuana in 2017, with
men being more likely to report using marijuana than women.
Additionally, in 2019, there was a considerable increase in daily marijuana
use by adolescents, with nearly 12% of surveyed eighth graders stating
that they had used marijuana the previous year and 6.6% admitting to using
marijuana the previous month. These rates increased in older age groups,
with nearly 30% of tenth graders surveyed reporting marijuana use in the
previous year and 18.4% reporting marijuana use in the previous month,
as well as almost 38% of twelfth graders admitting to using marijuana
in the previous year and 22.3% reporting marijuana use in the previous month.
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 22.2 million people use marijuana every month, with about 1 in
10 marijuana users eventually becoming addicted. The CDC also notes that
long-term marijuana use has been associated with a heightened risk of
Long-Term Effects of Marijuana
- Altered brain development
- Cognitive impairment
- Depression/ anxiety
How People Consume Marijuana
People can consume marijuana in different ways. Most people consume marijuana
by smoking it with a pipe or bong. Other ways to smoke marijuana include
hand-rolled cigarettes and cigar wraps. When individuals just smoke the
oil from the marijuana plant, it’s called dabbing.
People who want to consume marijuana without smoking it can do so by eating
marijuana-infused foods, or edibles. For example, many people like to
bake marijuana into treats like brownies. Others may simply choose to
consume marijuana through edible gummies or by infusing or brewing it
into drinks like tea. The marijuana-infused food, drink, and treat options
Regardless of how a person chooses to consume marijuana, he or she should
make sure that their use of the substance isn’t so extensive that
it leads to marijuana dependence or addiction. Once addiction has taken
hold, the individual will almost certainly need professional marijuana
addiction treatment to break the cycle of abuse.
Can You Experience Withdrawal from Marijuana?
Although many people do not realize it, it is possible to experience marijuana
withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms usually occur only when a person has
developed a dependency on or addiction to marijuana.
Common marijuana withdrawal symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Excessive sweating
To overcome marijuana addiction, it’s best if individuals attend
marijuana detox followed by marijuana rehab. Located near Memphis, our
marijuana addiction treatment center offers comprehensive addiction treatment
services, including a variety of therapies designed to help individuals
overcome addiction and go on to lead happy, healthy, and meaningful lives.
What Is Marijuana Detox?
Because some individuals may experience marijuana withdrawal when minimizing
or discontinuing their use of the substance, the detoxification process
can be uncomfortable. Often, the unpleasant experience of withdrawal can
drive people to continue using marijuana, even if they initially wanted
to cut back or stop.
In some cases, it may be appropriate for a person to undergo medical detox
from marijuana. When people experience severe withdrawal symptoms in a
medical detox facility, the facility’s physicians and staff can
provide support and counsel. Unfortunately, there are no prescription
medications for marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, individuals
who are detoxing from marijuana at professional detox facilities must
manage their own withdrawal symptoms until the substance has fully left
How Is Marijuana Addiction Treated?
drug addiction treatment programs, marijuana rehab can be either inpatient or outpatient, meaning the individual
can choose to live fulltime at the facility (inpatient) or attend multiple
treatments several times a week and return home at the end of the day
(outpatient). The right option will depend on the various unique factors
of your situation, such as the severity of the addiction.
Inpatient Marijuana Rehab
Inpatient marijuana rehab is for individuals with severe marijuana addictions.
As a result, inpatient marijuana rehab programs require patients to live
in rehab facilities while in treatment so that they can receive 24/7 care
Standard inpatient marijuana rehab programs are very structured. Individuals
with severe marijuana addictions who need to attend inpatient marijuana
rehab but don’t want to live in such a structured manner can attend
residential marijuana rehab.
Residential Marijuana Rehab
Residential marijuana rehab is an inpatient rehab program that’s
slightly less structured than standard inpatient rehab. As a result, residential
marijuana rehab patients will get more free time to themselves than they
would in standard inpatient rehab.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) for Marijuana Addiction
There are different types of outpatient marijuana rehab programs, the most
intensive of which is partial hospitalization.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are suitable for individuals with moderate to severe addictions. PHPs
require rehab patients to attend treatments five to eight hours a day,
five to seven days a week.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) for Marijuana Addiction
The second most intense level of outpatient marijuana rehab is an
intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP treatment programs require rehab patients to receive care a few hours
a day, a few days a week. IOP marijuana rehab is best for people with
moderate marijuana addictions.
Outpatient Program Rehab
The least intense version of marijuana rehab is standard outpatient rehab.
Standard outpatient marijuana rehab programs are designed for people with mild marijuana addictions. As a result, standard
outpatient marijuana rehab programs only require individuals to attend
rehab a couple of hours a day, a couple of days a week.