Marijuana Addiction Treatment Centers California -

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

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Marijuana addiction, also known as cannabis use disorder, has nothing to do with how one feels about its’ legality, relative harm in relation to other drugs or purported medical benefits. Cannabis use disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) along with every other substance abuse disorder.

The bottom line is this: Any drug that can alter one’s perception can cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to dependency. This is true for nicotine, for alcohol and for marijuana. Unfortunately, marijuana’s availability, in addition to its growing mainstream presence, can obscure this fact.

Marijuana potency

Most people who use marijuana smoke the dried leaves of the plant Cannabis sativa. Marijuana can be ingested in the form of edibles such as brownies or candy, drunk when it is brewed as tea, vaporized or smoked. In recent years, an extract of the active ingredient in cannabis – delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – can be smoked or ingested through a process called dabbing.

The legalization of marijuana in recent years has led to increased cannabis availability, reductions in harm and higher levels of potency in edible, drinkable and smokable products that are now easily accessible. The popularity of these high potency products may expose people to greater risks that might not have been true years ago.

Short-term effects

Smoking marijuana will allow the quick absorption of THC into the bloodstream, while ingesting it can take much longer – up to an hour or two to start to take effect, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Higher potency marijuana products can also lead to greater impairment. Marijuana abuse can lead to short-term physical and psychological effects, according to WebMD, including:

  • Mood changes
  • Changes in time perception
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Changes in blood sugar
  • Dizziness
  • Dilated pupils and red eyes
  • Slow reaction times
  • Breathing shallowly
  • Dry mouth

Long-term risks

For decades, marijuana has been thought of as a “gateway drug” that leads users in search of harder, more dangerous substances once its effects have lost potency. Although tests on rats have shown that when marijuana is used in adolescence it alters the function of the brain’s dopamine system – a brain system associated with pleasure and reward and associated with a greater incidence of drug use later in life.

Long-term marijuana use can lead to health problems down the road. Studies examining the health consequences of marijuana use show problems with learning and memory tasks later in life in rats exposed to THC before or after birth, or in adolescence. NIDA also reported that human brain images of adolescents who were regular marijuana users showed impaired neural function in the following areas:

  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Impulse control

This damage was reflected in a New Zealand study showing a decline in IQ in early marijuana users. Finally, other tests have shown regular THC use can cause problems with the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with retaining memories.

Health consequences

There are also health consequences that can result from simply smoking marijuana. As smoke is a lung irritant, marijuana users are still vulnerable to respiratory problems such as bronchitis and chest infections. Marijuana can also speed up a person’s heart rate to dangerous levels, particularly if the person uses other drugs at the same time, for up to three hours after smoking, which heightens a person’s risk for having a heart attack.

According to the NIDA, long-term marijuana use is also associated with:

  • Temporarily seeing or hearing sensations that are not actually there (hallucinations)
  • Paranoia
  • More severe or longer lasting schizophrenia symptoms, including paranoia, disorganized thinking and hallucinations
  • Increased depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts (teens)

Quitting marijuana

Marijuana is addictive and does have withdrawal symptoms after long-time use, especially in adults. Irritability, anxiety and insomnia are a few of the mental symptoms, and physical symptoms can include headache, shakiness and problems with eating. Although marijuana addiction does not have the reputation and social reputation of harder drugs like heroin and cocaine, it’s still a drug, and like any drug its use can become compulsive. Compulsive drug use can diminish one’s quality of life, career and personal relationships as the need to use and obtain the drug become more important than anything else in life.

Why Choose Sovereign Health of California?

Sovereign Health of California is equipped to treat and heal marijuana addiction along with other substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders and mental disorders. As part of marijuana addiction recovery, we treat co-occurring conditions often driving drug abuse.

Sovereign Health of California offers marijuana detoxification, and our San Clemente location has a nutritionally-assisted detox (NAD) option. Along with marijuana detoxification, our patients receive a combination of individual and group therapy, evidence-based treatment and experiential activities to help our patients overcome their marijuana abuse.

Please call our 24/7 helpline today for more information on treatment options for cannabis use disorder at our marijuana rehab center.

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