Despite the passage of Proposition 64 legalizing recreational use of cannabis in California, most buyers in the state still require to produce a medical marijuana ID card to purchase marijuana. However, this supplementary bureaucratic bottleneck hasn’t deterred pot enthusiasts in California from buying more legal marijuana than their fellow countrymen in the far more lenient states of Washington and Colorado, which have decriminalized both the use of medicinal and recreational weed.
According to a recent report by Arcview Group, a San Francisco-based cannabis market research firm, California leads the entire North American continent in sales of legal marijuana. Experts from the company estimate that people of the state purchased a whopping $1.8 billion worth of legal cannabis in 2016, leaving the state of Colorado far behind.
In its report, research firm notes that California accounted for 27 percent of legal marijuana sales in North America in 2016, whereas sales figures in Colorado reached 20 percent and Washington remained in third position at 11 percent. According to the company, California could make about $6 billion in sales in the next six years. On the whole, the experts believe that the cannabis market in entire North America would be worth more than $20 billion, surpassing the sales of wine and organic foods.
Cannabis abuse is a reality in America
Researchers at Harvard University have demonstrated that cannabis use alters brain structure by discernibly modifying brain volume. Studies suggest that smoking weed on a regular basis can induce changes in density and volume of the amygdala and nucleus accumbens. Additionally, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a neurotoxin present in marijuana, leads to abuse and addiction, and the reason why individuals are unable to discontinue the use of marijuana despite the negative impact on their lives.
Although cannabis use is gaining wide acceptance in many circles, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has neither recognized nor approved its therapeutic value. It continues to be classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act owing to high potential for abuse. The steady spike in marijuana addiction rates across the country is attributed to the growing ease of availability, perceived harmlessness and the popularity of the drug across all sections of society.
In light of the growing popularity of pro-cannabis campaigns, many fear that the harmful and addictive nature of the drug will get sidelined. Studies suggest that it is almost impossible to grow up in the United States and not be exposed to cannabis. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 22 million Americans aged 12 or older were using marijuana in 2015.
Also, recent studies show that the number of cannabis users among those 65 and older is on the rise. “The issue seems to be much bigger that we actually thought,” says Dr. Brian Kaskie from University of Iowa, who recently co-authored a study on the increasing use of cannabis among older Americans. “This is an elephant we’re just starting to get our hands on,” says Kaskie. Findings of the study was published in the journal The Gerontologist on Jan. 11, 2017.
A gateway drug
Some researches suggest that early exposure to cannabinoids, particularly during adolescence, could increase vulnerability to addiction to other hard drugs later in life. Experts believe that similar to alcohol and nicotine, marijuana modifies the brain’s reward system by inducing a dopamine rush that automatically tweaks the brain for a heightened response to other drugs. Moreover, there is a possibility that convenient and fast access to weed may tempt users to try other types of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. This could pave the way for addiction, mental health disorders and other life-threatening consequences. This finding is based on the observation that some users of cocaine or heroin were earlier addicted to marijuana.
Some studies say that cannabis use may mask an undesirable condition for a while, at least till the high persists. But, when the situation returns more intensely than before, the user is compelled to turn to stronger drugs as cannabis fails to produce the same effect. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says that those who use marijuana during adolescence are more likely to use other harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin later in adulthood. Unfortunately, teens and high school students form a high-risk group, who are vulnerable to weed addiction.
Being a highly-addictive and mind-altering drug, marijuana is known to stay in the system for a longer period of time exposing the individual to several health hazards. Research shows that use of marijuana over a period of time can cause short-term memory loss and chronic smoking can damage the respiratory tract. Besides, it is also known to affect one’s social life as well as career making it impossible for those in the depths of addiction to break free from the clutches of the drug.
Journey to recovery
Studies suggest that every individual has the neurobiological potential to become an addict. However, in the sphere of rewards, everybody might not be on the same level as in the case of those addicted to any drug, where it could be even hard-wired into their gray matter.
Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful substances despite the negative impact on his or her life. Our customized drug addiction treatment programs are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically. Sovereign Health of San Clemente’s pain program is designed to help foster addiction recovery by facilitating addiction treatment for individuals whose pain has led to an addiction of either prescription and/or illegal drugs.
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to marijuana or any other drug, get in touch with Sovereign Health to gain access to the latest and innovative treatment methods at our state-of-the-art drug addiction rehab centers spread across the U.S. Whether you are looking for addiction help or addiction treatment centers in California or at a place closer home, call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 819-0427 or chat online to know about the most effective rehab programs at our reliable rehabilitation centers.