Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs in the United States. Many people can use and stop using the drug with relative ease, but some may wonder, “Is it possible to be addicted to marijuana?”
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana refers to the dried stems, leaves, flowers and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains a psychoactive, or mind-altering, substance known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as other compounds.
Marijuana is used in a few different ways. It is typically smoked in multiple ways, from rolled cigarettes to bongs to pipes. It can also be smoked in a blunt, which is a cigar that has been emptied of tobacco products and filled with marijuana or a mixture of marijuana and tobacco. Smoke from marijuana has a distinctive sweet-and-sour and pungent odor. It may also be ingested orally, either by brewing in water to make tea or by baking into food.
When marijuana is smoked, THC passes quickly into the bloodstream, carrying the substance to the brain and other bodily organs. It is ingested most quickly when smoked in comparison to consuming edibles or tea.
But regardless of how marijuana is used, it specifically acts on cannabinoid receptors in the brain that are ordinarily activated by chemicals within the body that are similar to THC and are a natural part of the neural communication network known as the endocannabinoid system. This part of the brain plays a vital part in the development and function of the brain. When marijuana is consumed, it over-activates this system, causing a “high” and euphoric effects that are experienced, including:
- Altered mood
- Distorted perceptions
- Impaired coordination
- Disrupted learning
- Dry mouth
- Loss of control
- Slow reaction time
- Decreased ability to recollect memories
- Difficulty with problem solving and thinking
Marijuana use can also exacerbate problems in daily life. One’s motivation and decisions can be significantly decreased, leading to a loss of interest in recreational and social activities once enjoyed.
Is It Possible to Be Addicted to Marijuana?
The use of marijuana is associated with dependence, which is the condition in which a person experiences withdrawal symptoms from ceasing use of a particular drug.
Marijuana use can lead to the development of problem use that takes place in severe cases, known as marijuana use disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 30% of people who use marijuana have some degree of this disorder. Other research suggests that an estimated 9 percent of users of marijuana develop addiction. People who use marijuana prior to the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop this disorder than those who begin using it in adulthood.
People who stop using marijuana often report struggles, such as:
- Sleep difficulty
- Sleep problems
- Decreased appetite
- Other forms of physical discomfort
Marijuana use disorder becomes addiction when a person cannot stop using the drug despite its many interferences in multiple aspects of a person’s life.
Health Risks Associated With Frequent Marijuana Use
Marijuana use has been associated with numerous health issues. The substance is a lung irritant and can also cause heart problems in addition to other health issues.
Health risk associated with frequent marijuana use include:
- Heightened risk of lung infections
- Daily cough
- Frequent acute chest illness
- Immune system damage
- Fertility issues
- Damage to the central nervous system and brain cells
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
How to Get Help With a Marijuana Addiction
Addiction is frightening, whether you are the one battling it or someone you love and whether you have a problem with marijuana use, a drinking problem or something else. We understand that and are here to help. Aspire Treatment Solutions has the expertise on every facet of addiction, including marijuana addiction, to serve at the highest possible level. For more information on how you or a loved one can start the journey down a path free of marijuana use, contact one of our empathetic representatives today who are dedicated to answering any questions you may have about addiction treatment and recovery. Every call to our facility is confidential.