5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Smoking Weed

While states across the country are de-criminalizing the use and possession of marijuana, instating regulations that allow for the legal sale and private use of the schedule 1 substance, it is still federally illegal – and for good reason. While widespread legalization may make it appear that the regular use of marijuana for recreational purposes is fine, the truth is this drug has major physical, psychological, social and ethical consequences.

  1. Weed IS AddictiveSmoking

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 30 percent of marijuana users may develop some degree of problem use, which can lead to dependence and in severe cases takes the form of full-blown addiction. Most users move on from marijuana and use other drugs, as it’s always been considered a high-risk gateway substance especially since the effects of cannabis are stimulated by combining it with other drugs. Research suggests that people who begin using marijuana before age 18 are 4 to 7 times more likely than adults to develop problem use.

  1. You Do Withdrawal from Weed

Contrary to popular folklore, you do detox and experience withdrawal symptoms from using marijuana regularly. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those who are chronic users experience irritability, sleep problems, anxiety, and craving once cessation begins. Withdrawal symptoms are both physical and psychological, which may prompt relapse in order to “feel normal again”. Withdrawal symptoms are generally mild and peak a few days after use has stopped. They gradually disappear within about 2 weeks. While these symptoms do not pose an immediate threat to health, they can make it hard for someone to stop using the drug. In addition, THC remain in the body for several weeks or months after the last use for heavy users, and may be present in the blood stream up to 7 days after stopping.

  1. BrainUsing Weed Regularly Regresses Your Brain

Many studies have found significant correlations to recreational cannabis use and permanent regressive brain development. A study from Northwestern University found that heavy users who began in adolescence had the potential do develop structural abnormalities in certain brain areas. Another study in New Zealand found that continued marijuana use starting in adolescence was associated with an average loss of 8 IQ points measured in mid-adulthood. Additional concerns include memory and cognition problems, risk of addiction and schizophrenia in young people.

  1. Drive “Weed High” and Die, or Get a DUI

THC, the main psychoactive chemical in weed, significantly impairs judgement, motor coordination and reaction time. A study conducted by the Road Safety Observatory found that there is a significant relationship between a person’s blood THC concentration and impaired driving. Their findings concluded that marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood stream of Stop Smokingdrivers who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents, including fatal ones. In regards to a DUI, some states do offer testing to understand the levels of THC found in the blood stream, but many consider any amount to be “under the influence” and therefore qualify as a DUI. Remember that THC can be detected in the blood system up to 7 days after use for “regular users” and up to 3 months in hair follicles. This means that a blood test several days after your last high, as a regular user, will reveal illegal amounts of THC in your blood stream and land you with a DUI.

  1. Unpredictable Potency and Reactions

Recreational and illegal cannabis contain significant levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the psychoactive chemical found in weed that gives people their “high”. It is believed that “typical” percentages of THC found in modern day weed is between .3 and 4 percent. However, some specially grown plants can contain as much as 25 percent THC! This chemical compound is associated with feelings of euphoria, but in high doses, can also cause adverse effects. Since the effects of marijuana depend primarily on the dose and the user’s experience, it’s difficult or impossible to know exactly how someone will react to using the drug. Some users experience anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic. This may cause an acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity.

For more information on marijuana addiction and to find answers on getting help for you or a loved one, call our team of advisors 561-325-6686.

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Abuse

While the true addictive nature of marijuana has been a topic of controversy for years, there is little doubt that long-term use will eventually have a negative effect on the user. Short-term effects are relatively well known, seeing as many major motion pictures and feature a character known as the “stoner” or “pot head”. Common side effects of short-term use include lowered reaction time, anxiety, paranoia, increased heartbeat, and sleepiness. Most of these side effects are completely harmless, and dissipate within several hours. Because there are no immediate dangers involved in smoking marijuana, many users believe it to be totally harmless. This is not the case.

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Abuse

Because cannabis is illegal in most states, it has been difficult to conduct any prolonged studies on lasting effects of long-term use. However, studies that have been held have investigated both the positive and negative effects of long-term use. In many cases, marijuana is the first illicit substance adolescents are exposed to. The most widely used illicit drug in the entire Western world, well over half of the general population has experimented with marijuana at some point in time. Long-term exposure poses the risk of irreversible impairment of cognitive function to children and pre-pubescent adolescents that are exposed to the drug at an early age. In adults, however, long-term central nervous system effects of cannabis are entirely indistinguishable from any psychiatric disorders that may have been pre-existing.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

It has been estimated that somewhere between 10 and 20% of those who use marijuana on a daily basis will become dependent. Marijuana addiction has been a topic of debate for years, though evidence pointing towards eventual dependency is solid. Marijuana abuse is defined in the DSM-5 as a condition requiring treatment, and the rates of those being admitted to treatment facilities for the primary reason of marijuana addiction have been skyrocketing in recent years. While cannabis has far less addictive potential than drugs like methamphetamine and heroin, it has proven to be more addictive than drugs like LSD and mescaline. While no exceedingly harmful long-term effects of prolonged marijuana abuse are clear, the drug is known to worsen manic symptoms of bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other forms of psychosis. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to marijuana, one of our trained representatives would be more than happy to assist in answering any questions you may have.

Myth Busters – Marijuana Addiction

Very few people nowadays deny the fact that heroin addiction is very real – and very dangerous. Opiate addiction has been claiming so many lives in recent years that it is essentially an inarguable fact. Those who know someone who has battled alcoholism easily conclude that alcohol is highly addictive – mental and physical dependency to the substance becomes clear as lives are continuously lost to the unrelenting disease. But weed? Weed doesn’t destroy lives – reduce once-essential members of society to pathetic, groveling street dwellers, prostituting themselves for one more joint, selling their parents’ wedding rings so they can pack just one more bowl. Marijuana doesn’t leave people emaciated and covered in sores, or so mentally deteriorated they can’t even get out of bed. Pot is cool, being a stoner is socially acceptable, and no one has ever overdosed on marijuana – ever. So there’s no danger… right?

Can You Be Addicted to Marijuana?

Actually, it has recently been scientifically proven that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. 9% of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. This number increases to 1 in 6 regarding those who start using marijuana at a young age (in their early teens), and between 25% and 50% of those who use on a daily basis. In 2010, 4.5 million out of the recorded 7.1 million individuals who were dependent on or abusing illicit drugs were primarily battling dependencies on marijuana. Cannabis itself is not physically addicting, though mental dependency is exceedingly prevalent, as proven by these statistics. And while true marijuana addiction is very rare, it is very real.

Withdrawing from long-term marijuana use produces symptoms similar to those caused by kicking a prolonged nicotine habit – and you have ever tried to quit smoking cigarettes you are familiar with the fact that it is no easy task. Marijuana withdrawal will likely cause irritability, intense craving, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. A week after ceasing use, aggression has been proven to increase significantly. Of course, these symptoms tend to subside on their own after a couple of weeks and pose no serious physical or psychological risk. However, for those who have been using marijuana on a daily basis for an extended period of time, symptoms may be more severe.

“Marijuana Maintenance” Is Never A Good Idea

Those individuals who are victims of what has become widely known as “inherited boredom” are far more likely to engage in daily use, develop tolerance, and thus form dependency on the drug. Adolescents who are financially well-off, who have little responsibility aside from attending school on a daily basis, tend to be the portion of the overall global population that end up eventually seeking treatment for marijuana addiction. Many addicts and alcoholics who struggle with addictions to other substances will substitute marijuana for their drug of choice, assuming that it is not addictive and thus a logical and safe alternative. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding often leads to relapse, or an eventual dependency on marijuana. When recovering from addiction, no chemical substance is safe to use. And while marijuana overdose has never lead directly to fatality, the drug can still be addictive and cause far more harm than good in the long run.