Marijuana is the single most commonly used illegal drug across the United States, with almost 20% of people having engaged with the drug at least once in 2019 alone. However, about 3 in 10 of those who use the drug suffer from marijuana use disorder. Its ubiquity across all age groups, professions, and socioeconomic statuses makes marijuana an increasingly dangerous and addictive drug. However, recovery is closer than you think.
We at Redpoint understand the need to address the prevalence of marijuana, its dangers, and the misconceptions surrounding it to create an effective, personalized recovery plan for you. Marijuana addiction can affect anyone, from early teens to working professionals. Redpoint’s caring staff and evidence-based, personalized treatment plans are ready to help you or your loved one start your new life of sobriety today.
The Misconceptions of Marijuana Use
The push for marijuana legality has led to a myriad of misconceptions surrounding its use, leading some to believe that it is somehow a “safe” drug. However, this is a fallacy, and there are always ramifications to the use of marijuana on your physical and mental health.
Marijuana and its chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a powerful and addictive drug that fundamentally affects each person’s health. The idea that marijuana is a “better” alternative to harder drugs like opioids minimizes the dangers that marijuana possesses.
The notion that “marijuana isn’t addictive” is also a common misconception, and people of any age can develop a marijuana addiction. For those who are introduced to the substance in their younger years, between 12-17, chronic use of marijuana can lead to continued risks and addiction into adulthood. Marijuana can also be commonly cut with other substances, increasing its destructive and addictive properties and making the experienced, professional care available at Redpoint instrumental while navigating marijuana addiction and recovery.
The Effects of Marijuana on the Brain
Marijuana fundamentally affects a person’s brain chemistry. Chronic use of marijuana, especially during a person’s formative years, can continue to impact the chemical balance of the brain, affecting focus and attention, the ability to form and recall memories, and more. While there are still ongoing studies on how marijuana affects the brain, early studies point to it also being potentially detrimental to one’s IQ.
Marijuana also forces the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical associated with the brain’s reward center. However, this forced release of the chemical also causes the brain to repeatedly crave the substance, making it difficult to enjoy other things as a client’s dependence on marijuana increases, eventually leading to a feeling that marijuana is essential to one’s happiness.
The Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Use
Marijuana affects each person in a unique way. Some of the immediate effects of marijuana use include:
- Decreased reaction time and mental processing
- Compromised motor skills
- Changes in diet or appetite
- Reddened eyes
- Altered perception of time or situation
- Increased awareness of own senses (auditory, tactile, olfactory, etc.)
- Sudden changes in heart rate
- Disconnection from reality
- Dry mouth
However, continued use of marijuana can lead to a myriad of other symptoms, including disinterest in personal hobbies or relationships, changes in hygiene, inability to tend to responsibilities, decreased performance in academics or the workplace, and more.
Identifying Marijuana Addiction
While the immediate signs of marijuana use can inform when an individual is under the influence of the drug, there are other questions to ask when it comes to identifying how marijuana addiction may continue to impact a person at all hours of the day. Asking oneself or a loved one the right questions can illuminate how marijuana may affect one’s daily life. Some key questions to ask are:
- Do you think about marijuana during other activities?
- Have you ever stayed in or avoided situations in order to use marijuana?
- Do you use more marijuana now to attain the same effect?
- Do you feel anxious when not using the drug?
- Have you distanced yourself from previous hobbies while increasing marijuana use?
- Have you ever used more than intended or in situations you weren’t planning or expecting?
- Have you questioned your own use of marijuana?
- Wanted to cut back your use of the drug but couldn’t?
Marijuana and Mental Health
Marijuana use and abuse directly affect a person’s mental health, and leaving one’s use of marijuana unaddressed can develop into intense mental health disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), bipolar disorder (BD), depression, and various other mood and personality disorders are all possible as a result of marijuana addiction and require dedicated, professional treatment to address.
For some, marijuana may be used in an attempt to self-medicate mental health disorders, while for others, the chronic use of marijuana can deliver feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders itself. The trained clinicians at Redpoint are prepared to help you understand how marijuana and your mental health inform each other and can help create a plan to tackle mental health disorders and marijuana use in tandem for a healthy, sober future.
Creating Your Best Treatment Plan
There are as many paths to sobriety as there are people, and Redpoint is dedicated to helping each client discover their own best practices for their recovery and sobriety. Your time with us is spent exploring your unique needs and goals and supplementing proven programs with personalized therapeutic modalities. From cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to motivational interviewing (MI), relapse prevention, and much more, we are committed to helping you understand and overcome addiction while helping address the unique ways addiction has affected your life.
Between developing life skills, setting achievable goals, and developing interpersonal skills to reconnect and communicate with loved ones, Redpoint’s unique approach to each client journey allows us to create a personalized plan for you today.