A Closer Look at Marijuana Substance Use and Abuse

Marijuana is a substance derived from the dried flowers, stems, and leaves of the plant Cannabis sativa (often called “hemp”). It is one of the most commonly used and abused substances in the world today. Normally ingested through smoking, marijuana usually gives off a distinct sweet-and-sour odor. Most marijuana users smoke it in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, while others use pipes or water pipes called “bongs.” The substance can also be used to brew tea or mixed into foods. It also goes by a variety of common names, including pot, grass, weed, MJ and reefer.

Some of the signs or symptoms that can be noticed in individuals using marijuana may include:

  • marijuanaMucus filled coughs that occur frequently
  • Increased appetite, sometimes called “munchies”
  • Dry mouth
  • Rapidly beating heart
  • Anxiety or fear
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Poor memory, forgetful in conversation
  • Poor concentration and coordination
  • Loud, rapid speech and laughter outbursts in early stages of intoxication
  • Aroma resembling burnt rope on breath or clothing
  • Distorted sense of time
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia, such as roach clips, rolling papers, pipes or bongs

Physical Effects of Marijuana Substance Use and Abuse

Contrary to what many people think, marijuana has a powerful chemical makeup which renders it a high risk drug to the human body system. The chemical component of the drug normally gets into the system through the lungs, making its way to the bloodstream, which transports it to certain parts of the brain.

It is one thing when medical marijuana is taken by prescription, but the drug can be much less safe when used in the most common way, which is illegally. The safety of non-prescribed marijuana can vary greatly, depending on the supplier and the way in which it is ingested.

Dangerous side effects of marijuana use can include: Nausea and vomiting, dizziness, numbness, mental impairment, hallucinations and depression. Pregnant women should avoid even a prescribed form of marijuana, as the drug can pass through the placenta and slow the fetus’ growth. In addition, those with blood pressure or seizure problems are advised to abstain from using marijuana, since the drug can make these conditions worse.

Can Marijuana be Addictive?

Treatment for marijuana abuse is often not taken seriously and many people fail to realize that the substance can, in fact, be addictive. Warning signs of marijuana abuse are often not fully recognized until a user is already hooked. Frequent marijuana users are more likely to drop out of school or be fired from employment. There is also a high association between marijuana use and mental health issues, such as depression—it is uncertain whether marijuana is used as a result of depression, for example, or whether the particular mental problem arises from using the drug; both factors may in fact contribute to the correlation.

Rehab Help for Marijuana Substance Use and Abuse

Those confronting an addiction to marijuana can be reassured that they stand an excellent chance of recovery. As far as illicit substances go, marijuana is not quite as physically addictive, and therefore can be easier to quit without undergoing severe withdrawal symptoms. Those participating in marijuana rehab programs may find that the biggest challenge for recovery is overcoming their mental addiction to this drug.

Marijuana treatment facilities are places where addicted individuals can work with skilled therapists to develop helpful alternatives to drug use. They will also learn know how to manage effectively if relapse occurs, to get back on track to a more productive life.

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