Marijuana Drug Abuse -- Addiction and Treatment
In 2012, more than 31 million Americans aged 13 or older reported using marijuana at least once over the past year. While marijuana use, especially among teens, was on a consistent decline for much of the 1990’s, and into the early 2000’s, this trend has completely reversed in recent years showing a significant increase in marijuana use across all age groups. 5 year trends not only show marijuana use up significantly among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, with almost 35% of high school seniors smoking marijuana at least once during that year, but marijuana use is even on the rise among senior citizens. So what is the reason behind this recent spike in marijuana use and is it really as dangerous as many experts say?
While many like to claim that smoking marijuana is practically harmless and it has no serious long-term side effects, this is just factually not accurate. While marijuana may not be as dangerous as crystal meth, cocaine, or heroin, it does come with a number of short-term and long-term health effects that potential users need to be aware of. First of all, marijuana can drastically impair the brain’s short-term memory function, making it more difficult to learn and retain information, as well as manage simple everyday tasks. Frequent marijuana use can also lead to a rapid fluctuation in mood which can lead to depression, increased anxiety, and paranoia. Marijuana has also been shown to increase heart rate by as much as 40-100%, and can increase the risk of heart attack, especially in individuals already suffering from existing heart disease.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
While there has been much debate in recent years on whether marijuana is really a gateway drug and is actually physically addictive, the majority of studies show that frequent marijuana use over the long-term can lead to physical and psychological dependency. While marijuana may not be as addictive as cocaine, heroin, or crystal meth, long-term use can lead to a dependency on the drug, that affects almost 15% of all regular marijuana users. It is estimated that marijuana accounts for nearly 4.5 million of the estimated 7.2 million Americans dependent on or abusing illicit drugs. Marijuana addiction is also linked to mild withdrawal symptoms, that can be similar to nicotine withdrawal symptoms when people quit smoking cigarettes. These can include irritability, depression, difficulty sleeping, constant cravings, anxiety, and depression.
Marijuana Rehab Treatment Centers
If you, or someone that you care about, is currently struggling with an addiction to marijuana, you may want to speak with them about how their marijuana use is negatively affecting their lives. They will often tell you that they’re fine and that marijuana is harmless, but try to take a deeper look with them at how marijuana has affected their life. More times than not, they will probably admit that they were more motivated and focused when they weren’t using marijuana, they probably did better in school or work activities, and they most likely had more self-esteem and confidence overall. After sitting down with someone and talking to them about their marijuana problem, it is not a bad idea to bring up marijuana rehab as a potential solution. Many of the best drug rehab centers in the country have great marijuana addiction programs where patients can learn to live a full and happy life without the use of marijuana. While they may be reluctant at first, tell them how much it means to you for them to be clean and how much you really care about them and want to see them use their full potential. More often than not, they will admit they have a problem and will let you help them find treatment.
Marijuana Treatment Center - Cannabis Drug Rehab Program Facility
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world. Marijuana dependence is just like any other drug addiction. There is no question it is very addictive. Of the adults seeking treatment for marijuana abuse, most have used marijuana daily for at least 10 years. They have attempted to quit by themselves six times. Marijuana dependence is highest among people with other psychiatric conditions, such as depression, bi-polar, anxiety or panic disorder. Marijuana addiction often occurs with using other drugs, like cocaine and alcohol. Long-term marijuana use produces all kinds of physical, mental, emotional and behavioral issues. It impairs short-term memory, judgment and distorts perception.
Marijuana abuse often leads to dependency and addiction to marijuana use. When a person is using marijuana every day, it can gradually begin interfering with the overall quality and prospective of their life. Often a very slow gradual process, the compulsion to smoke marijuana becomes the most important focal point of that person's life.
When asked to describe the negative affects marijuana was having on their lives, the majority of heavy users said the marijuana was negatively effecting every aspect of their life. Studies connect marijuana use with more absences, tardiness, accidents and turnover at work.
Marijuana Usage and Mental Illness
When it comes to illicit substances, cannabis—meaning marijuana, hashish, hash oil, and other derivatives—tops the charts. Worldwide, it is estimated that over 203 million people use cannabis; it is just behind alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco when it comes to popular recreational drugs. Interestingly, due to the psychoactive effects of marijuana use, which are typically feelings of relaxation and mild euphoria, not only do people use marijuana products to "get high," they also use cannabis to self-medicate their mental illnesses. Indeed, a recent study from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) claims that individuals with mental health problems are over seven times more likely to use cannabis on a weekly basis—or more—than those without mental illness.
It's a curious phenomenon. Research has certainly found links between marijuana use and mental illness, including observations that marijuana users occasionally suffer from delusions, psychosis, hallucinations, and depression while high. There is also a risk of dependence, psychological and otherwise, that can cause regular users to experience insomnia and depression when not using. Additionally, cannabis can exacerbate symptoms of certain types of mental illness, like schizophrenia. And yet, it seems that many individuals with mental illness frequently use marijuana and cannabis products to mitigate their psychiatric symptoms, most often feelings of depression, anxiety, and paranoia, even though in others, marijuana can be known to induce these symptoms.
In this particular study, the scientists and researchers looked at data from interviews with over 43,000 individuals over the age of eighteen. Cannabis use was assessed via questionnaires, as were mental disorders using criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Depression, anxiety, and substance-use disorders were the common among those assessed, who also reported weekly cannabis use more, but the most common pairing were high marijuana usage combined with bipolar disorder and personality disorders.
It was also found to be of note that while cannabis usage tends to be higher among younger individuals, those with mental illness who use cannabis were found across all age groups. Therefore, they concluded that it would be useful to screen for problematic cannabis usage among those diagnosed with mental illnesses, in order to target that population with information about prevention and intervention for problematic usage.
Addiction, including addiction to marijuana, is a medical condition with identifiable behavioral symptoms and patterns of behavior. At Malibu Horizon, one of the only non 12 step, disease model, therapy-based treatment programs in the world, individuals with addictions can find the help they need to overcome their condition and regain their life free of self-destructive behaviors. Malibu Horizon offers a marijuana rehab treatment center program with full medical supervision, as well as a residential treatment program where patients can remain on-site for intensive care.