Many people don’t realize that a large percentage of those who frequently consume marijuana have a personal use disorder or addiction to the substance. When someone first starts smoking marijuana, they typically feel excited and elated with the new high that they are experiencing. After about a week or so, these same people begin to notice serious signs of depression and other emotional disturbances. Unfortunately, many of these individuals soon discover that they can no longer control their behavior and must face major changes in their lifestyle if they want to break free from the addiction.
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Marijuana is an addictive substance, and it works on the human brain much in the same way as it does on animals. Once a user becomes dependent on the drug, they find it very difficult to stop. Even long-term occasional users who attempt to stop often report various withdrawal symptoms including irritability, insomnia, decreased appetite, increased anxiety and physical drug craving – all of which make it extremely difficult to completely abstain from using marijuana. A majority of these individuals will eventually develop some level of brain pathology due to the amount of time that passes between frequent marijuana use.
The most common of the disorders related to cannabis use disorder is an anxiety disorder. People who suffer from this particular symptom often report a constant state of paranoia and often feel as though they are going crazy. They often feel that things happening to them are out of their control and that they are losing their mind. They often mistake paranoia for a real problem that is plaguing their life. Anxiety can be very debilitating and has been found to be a common symptom among marijuana addicts.
Another common substance found in marijuana users is chemical known as tetrahydrocannabinoids or THC. This chemical has been proven to reduce short-term memory and improve short-term recognition memory but has serious side effects that can lead to serious mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia. People who have smoked weed on a regular basis may have suffered from traumatic brain injury and/or severe depression as a result of the abuse of marijuana. Research has shown that people who use marijuana on a regular basis have smaller corticobasal structures in their brains compared to those who don’t smoke marijuana.
Those who also suffer from another addiction such as cocaine or heroin may also have an increased risk of developing cannabis use disorder. However, this doesn’t mean that those with one addiction will necessarily develop another one. It appears that those with a history of either heroin or cocaine addiction are at greater risk for developing an addiction to marijuana as well. Some researchers believe that the chemical composition of weed makes it especially difficult for a person to give up compared to other addictive substances.
Using marijuana and becoming addicted is a progressive process. In order to beat the addiction, one needs to undergo several stages that include counseling, therapy and support groups. By using these three key elements, one can significantly reduce the chances of having a relapse into drug addiction. There is no magic bullet when it comes to quitting pot. But by using marijuana use disorder treatments that have been approved by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there is a higher chance of beating the addiction.