Addiction is a brain disorder characterised by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences… They are reinforcing and intrinsically rewarding. (These big words are form Wikipedia. Let’s water them down.)
Addiction is the lack of ability, both physically and psychologically to stop using or consuming a substance, drug, chemical, food, or activity, even though it is causing physical or psychological harm.
Marijuana or Cannabis (or weed, etc.) is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes. The main psychoactive part of cannabis us tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of 483 known compounds in the plant, including at least 65 other cannabinoids (God I love Wikipedia. Haha) Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporising, inside food one eats, or as an extract. Was this easy to understand? I think it was.
Take the dried leaves, seeds, stems or flowers of the Cannabis plant, and you have Weed which contains a mind-altering chemical called THC and other like substance.
After alcohol, marijuana is the most abused substance in the US and the world in general, especially among young people. About 11 million young people use marijuana yearly, mainly between the ages of 18 – 25.
Marijuana is consumed in a manner of ways including smoking in joints, from bongs, in vaporisers, or blunts. They are also mixed in food and eaten as edibles. It also turns out that there is a newly popular method called dabbing where people just straight up, extract THC from marijuana and take that straight off. This is dangerous both to make and to consume, and due to the high concentration of THC has caused ridiculous levels of hallucination or high in many people and led to fire accidents (due to butane used during extraction), loss of consciousness, paranoia, erratic behaviour, hospitalisations, and suicides. I’m not kidding. Stay away from that stuff,
Weed is widely used worldwide mostly for its intoxication or high with effects including laughter, talkativeness, enhanced sensory experiences, relaxation, ecstasy, etc. However, weed also comes with its array of negative effects including dizziness, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, fatigue, altered senses, reduced coordination, altered blood pressure, nausea, cognitive impairment, dry mouth, skin rash, dry eyes, blurred vision, heart rate alterations, sore throat, tooth discolouration, increased appetite, etc.
Addiction to Marijuana
Now, the problem with weed is that the more a person uses it, the higher his tolerance goes and he/she needs to use more to get high and the negative impacts cause more damage as a result and this increases the likelihood of getting addicted and dependent. The brain adjusts to having THC and the body experiences withdrawal when the chemical stops going in. The body craves it and makes a person feel like he/she would die without taking the drug despite experiencing the negative effects.
Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
Many people like to believe that weed is not addictive and I think they feel that way because the consequences don’t show themselves early on, allowing a slow decline to addiction without detection. Usually, this gets people asking themselves “how did I get here” a long way down the line. There usually isn’t a huge medical or legal problem that might make one wonder if there’s a problem to be handled but then, when one stops, there’s no hunger, there’s the increased irritability restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and moodiness.
Then a person can’t stop using the drug even when it affects her relationship or his job. 10% of people using marijuana usually get to this point.
Treatment of Marijuana Addiction
For many people, the decision to stop using marijuana comes when something has happened or gone wrong as a result of it. Maybe an argument with a loved one, or a job issue, or something.
While some people can just decide to quit marijuana and do it, some other people find and need professional help as the best and most beneficial approach for a long term recovery. People can find treatment alone, online, in books, or by asking other people. Different things for different people but the common thing among all these is the acknowledgement of the need for help.
How to Quit Marijuana Use
· Generally, medical treatment for weed addiction isn’t needed. However, it is important for addicts who have decided and are seeking to quit to see a medical professional who can check for any damage done by the drug use and/or other disorders to be handled during treatment.
There is usually no need for medication unled there are other disorders present.
· Now, abrupt ceasing hardly ends well and as no thoughts or preparations have been put into knowing how to cope without weed in one’s life. A person has to realise that marijuana has now become a problem and become disappointed with the things that excessive use of marijuana has caused. The mind has to know that the person doesn’t want weed anymore and is ready to do his/her best to stop.
· Set a date to quit in advance. Preferably a day in the next month so there’s enough time to get ready for the change and not too far that you might change your mind. If there is a day with personal significance, all the better. Then count days and celebrate monthly anniversaries to deepen your personal investment and congratulate yourself on how far you go.
· Cold Turkey and Tapering – Cold turkey is completely stopping the use of weed use in one day. Tapering is the gradual stoppage involving the daily reduction of joints or edibles consumed daily, continuously over time till it gets to zero.
Both methods have their ups and downs depending on the psychology and physiology of the person. Cold turkey works best for people who haven’t been using weed for a long time. Tapering is advised for long term users whose bodies have become accustomed to having THC in it. Stopping abruptly might lead to stronger withdrawal effects.
· Get rid of all marijuana-related stuff you have: Bowls, bongs, trays, t-shirts – whatever brings up the thought of weed, storage stuff, sentimental belongings, decorative property, expensive ones. Eliminating these things are essential in the journey to being sober as it reduces temptation has you physically getting rid of weed stuff so you’re sure nothing drags you back.
· Get ready to face marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Many people disagree on the specific symptoms to expect but they are similar to those of tobacco, although relatively milder. The addicted brain would always suggest returning to marijuana or another drug as the solution to all this. Normally, medical treatment for weed withdrawal isn’t required and it passes over time. However, it is advisable to seek support during the time. If you can see a professional or enrol in a program, it will be most helpful.
These withdrawal symptoms include and are not limited to restlessness, physical discomfort, anxiety, anger, aggression, paranoia, irritation, tremor, headache, nervousness, sweating, and insomnia.
· Therapy might be needed to change drug-related behaviour during treatment and is highly advised as it helps to decrease relapse and create longer-lasting weed recovery. Common therapies for marijuana treatment include:
· Motivational Interviewing (MI) that concentrates on motivating and encouraging people to not used marijuana during recovery. Some of these give rewards for successful drug screenings.
· Psychotherapy focuses on interpersonal skills, relationships, etc. this could be individual, group, or family.
· Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is planned to challenge, test, and eventually change behaviours and thoughts surrounding the use of weed.
· Exercise, apart from being generally good for your health, helps to accelerate the process of living a life free of marijuana. It refreshes both the body and the mind.
· Good diet is another great habit with lifelong benefits that helps with the change. It is essential to give the body proper nutrition as withdrawal weakens the body and to support fight the loss of appetite. Good food also strengthens the immune system, repairs tissues and provides energy. Going for fats and sweets are just replacing one problem with another, to be honest.
· Lifestyle changes, exercise, cooking, new hobbies, playing video games, regular sleep, accountability, and active social life are great for recovery. Since the craving for weed might never be fully eliminated, loneliness, boredom and stress remind the body of how smoking weed used to be so great. These changes will help to control this reversion.
· One very bad days when the weight becomes too much to carry, having reliable friends and/or family members to talk to makes a huge difference. Finding a support group is also very handy to create interaction with people who have quit using marijuana and know the challenge of trying to be sober. A sponsor who can be reached even by call or text at any time of day can be there as moral support and would remind you of how much you have accomplished, how far you’ve gone, and what will be lost by going back.
If you are a marijuana user reading this, weed on its own is quite harmless but its effects are heavy and can get really harmful. It can cause long term health problems, social problems, and ruin interpersonal relationships. Quitting is not easy but after making up your mind, having the right approach and support, one step at a time, it is possible and worthwhile.