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Professor explores marijuana’s safe use and addiction Harvard Gazette

Marijuana—also called weed, cannabis, and other names—is a species of plant that is used as a medical and recreational drug. About 90 percent of the people who used drugs and their primary drug of choice wasn’t marijuana met the criteria for abuse, compared to 47 percent of primary marijuana users. Over time, users may graduate from smoking marijuana to using it in high-dosage edible forms or propane-extracted concentrates called dabs. In healthy people, marijuana is sometimes used as a substitute for other, stronger substances.

marijuana addiction

Their “sponsor” is available at all times to help the teen deal with stresses and addiction struggles. As the teen begins to improve, he or she may be asked to mentor an addict who is new to the program. This is often some teen’s first experience with leadership, and teens strengthen in their own recovery as a https://ecosoberhouse.com/ result. People who frequently smoke marijuana have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a study published on Wednesday. Chronic cannabis abuse is modeled in animals with repeated treatments of cannabis (through smoke exposure) or THC and other cannabinoids (typically intravenous injections).


Paranoia is also a common symptom of marijuana use, although friends and family members of the individual suffering from marijuana addiction are more likely to notice this effect than the user. Only after they are in recovery do most individuals realize the degree to which marijuana-induced paranoia has been negatively impacting their lives. Marijuana is typically smoked to produce a relaxed and euphoric effect, but some choose to eat the substance for a milder, more extended high.

  • Changes in state laws mean marijuana is available to more people, for both medical and recreational use.
  • Some are even dependent on the drug, using it daily and going through withdrawal if they try to quit, but they still remain functional.
  • One example is when a person who has taken a prescription medication for a long time stops taking that medication and experiences physical or mental withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you use pot so they can keep an eye on your risk.

The road to recovery from marijuana addiction will likely have many ups and downs. Many people who try to quit smoking pot for the first time will fail and may have to try again, possibly a few times, before they find a recovery method and treatment program that works for them. Experts are still investigating why some people become addicted while others don’t. There are various reasons that a person might become dependent on marijuana.

Dependence and withdrawal

Furthermore, NIDA research finds that when kids start using marijuana before the age of 18, they are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop marijuana use disorder. People develop cannabis dependence for different reasons, so it’s important to address any underlying issues. For instance, those who use marijuana to cope with anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders can find more appropriate treatment types—including lifestyle changes, therapy, and medication—to help relieve their symptoms.

  • Things like extended family support, language-based discipline from parents, and a supportive peer group can help counteract some risk factors.
  • Together, these fMRI findings indicate that chronic cannabis use alters amygdala function.
  • Among those who never smoked tobacco, daily use was tied to a 49 percent higher risk of heart attack and a more than doubled risk of stroke, the study indicated.
  • As with other types of drug addiction, there are behavioral and physical signs that can signal marijuana addiction (known medically as cannabis use disorder).

Experts are finding a link between the age you begin using cannabis and the likelihood that you’ll develop a dependence on it. One study found that people who used cannabis starting at age 14 to 15 had a higher probability of developing dependence. On the other hand, for those who started using cannabis after age 15, the risk of developing a dependence drastically decreased. Marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States, but it can have serious health consequences as well as other negative effects on a person’s life. There are some signs to watch out for that suggest a person might be addicted to weed.

Recovery Coaching

Amanda Reiman, PhD, policy manager for the California office of the Drug Policy Alliance, and lecturer at the University of California Berkeley, shed light on this trend. Mental health conditions, which have both genetic and environmental causes play a large one in a person’s chance of developing an addiction. Recent research suggests that if you start to use marijuana at a young age, use it frequently, and for a long period of time, you could be at risk of having schizophrenia or other mental conditions that involve psychosis. This risk could be higher in young men or people assigned male at birth, especially those 16 to 25 years of age. In 2002, fewer than 2% of people surveyed in South Africa said they had taken illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, inhalants, sedatives, hallucinogens and opioids, in the last three months. Before entering a treatment program, a teenager should receive a clinical assessment from a doctor who specializes in treating addiction to determine how to best address their unique developmental needs.

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