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Marijuana Addiction, Withdrawal, Alternatives, Recovery

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Medically Reviewed

Last Updated on July 21, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr John Motl MD

The prolonged symptoms of marijuana addiction require professional treatment and a lot of time and patience to overcome.

Such symptoms include, but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, paranoia, acute psychosis, and reduced cognitive ability. Also consider the drug’s effects on the heart and lungs. And this is certainly not a complete picture of the possible side effects.

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Marijuana (Cannabis) is a plant whose flowers produce psychoactive chemicals. Marijuana is used for both recreational purposes as well as a growing list of medical uses (in certain areas). The plant comes from the Middle Eastern regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, though the plants are quite climate-tolerant and can be grown in nearly every region of the world.

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Marijuana is not considered “addictive” in the way that alcohol, opioids, and other drugs are addictive. Though, physicians note that marijuana habit forming, and the rebound effects when quitting marijuana can be bothersome enough to cause someone to avoid quitting.

What marijuana does is over-activate this (neural communication) system, often leading to impaired coordination, problems with problem-solving and thinking, as well as disrupted memory and learning. There is also a relation between chronic THC use and mental health conditions.

The popular drug known as marijuana, weed, pot, ganja, and other names is at the hub of an ongoing debate. There are commonly over-exaggerated and even false statements made by both of the opposing sides. However, what really matters is to know what the facts are, which may be difficult to discover with all of the hype.

Despite changing laws, the potential role of marijuana in new medical treatments, use of marijuana does have risks. At Alternative to Meds Center, individuals often come to us with a history of marijuana use combined with other drug or alcohol use. You may be surprised at how difficult it is for some individuals to stop using marijuana without some level of cravings or withdrawal.

Marijuana Side Effects

marijuana side effectsMarijuana, while not as harmful as a drug such as heroin, still has its risks and may be difficult for some individuals to stop using.

The primary active chemical in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC moves through the bloodstream into the brain as well as other organs in the body. THC affects specific areas in the brain, known as cannabinoid receptors. Usually, these receptors are triggered by brain chemicals which are similar to THC and part of neural communication systems that play an essential role in brain function and development.

What marijuana does is over activate this system, often leading to impaired coordination, problems with problem solving and thinking, as well as disrupted memory and learning. There is also a relation between chronic THC use and mental health conditions. An association has been shown with development of psychosis, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation in adolescents. However, more research is necessary to fully understand these connections.

Though a person may not seek help for marijuana use alone, it is often addressed in tandem with other drugs of abuse.

The long-term effects of marijuana use include addiction. THC affects the reward centers in the brain in a similar way as other addictive substances. In addition to the potential effects on mental health and cognitive development, marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and constant marijuana smokers may develop similar respiratory issues as tobacco smokers, include a daily cough, production of phlegm, larger risk of chest infection, and constant acute chest illness. Marijuana limits the efficiency of your brain, slows down though processes, impairs coordination, and can cause issues in your day-to-day life or worsen existing problems.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment:  How Alternative to Meds Provides an Alternative to Addiction

We offer a multipronged, corrective approach that targets the root of the reasons why an individual started to use substances such as marijuana. This allows for natural balance and sustainable relief from emotional, mental, and physical discomfort. Many of our staff have experienced substance abuse and have overcome such problems through effective help. This allows our staff to provide true compassion. If you or someone you care about is using marijuana regularly and would like to stop, call us and receive more information. We will happily provide more guidance on marijuana use.

Originally Published Feb 13, 2021 by Lyle Murphy

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

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