We treat marijuana addiction.
A Closer Look at Marijuana
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with 44% of the population admitting to having tried the drug, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.
Although it is not considered the most addictive substance, with only 9% of adult users (17% of young users) developing an addiction, marijuana most definitely has potential for abuse.
THC is the active ingredient in marijuana and is a naturally occurring property of the marijuana plant. The plant material can be dried and smoked, or the THC can be extracted to produce hash, oil or butter, which can then be consumed by smoking or eating.
Short-Term Effects of Marijuana
- Feelings of euphoria
- Decreased perception of pain
- Increased feelings of overall well-being
- Poor memory
- Learning problems
- Impaired thinking/problem solving
- Decreased coordination
- Impaired judgment
- Shortened attention span
- Impaired driving ability
- Altered perception of time and space
- Food cravings
- Shallow breathing
- Red eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Dry mouth (referred to as “cotton mouth”)
- Hallucinations and/or delusions
- Decreased lung function
- Increased risk of cancer
- Decreased immune system function
- Impaired cognitive function/learning capacity
- A-motivational syndrome (lack of motivation or drive)
- Fertility and problems with sexual function
- Possible risk of birth defects if mother smokes while pregnant
Possible Effects of Using Large Amounts:
- Poor memory
- Not knowing where one is
- Anxiety/panic attacks
History of Marijuana in the United States
Marijuana was brought to the US by the Spanish in 1545. From 1600-1890, marijuana, particularly hemp, farming was encouraged by the US government, as it provided materials suitable for clothes, rope, sails, pharmaceuticals and medicines. During the first two decades of the 1900’s, Mexicans introduced the recreational use of marijuana to the US, followed by Harry Anslinger’s campaign against marijuana in the 1930’s and the outlawing of marijuana in 1937. The 40’s saw hemp production to aid the war efforts, while the 50’s brought with them stricter sentencing laws. Marijuana use became an icon of counterculture and the American hippie movement during the 60’s and 70’s, while the 80’s saw yet another round of harsher sentencing laws at the federal level. The 90’s set us on the path for medical marijuana, a change in legislature which would ultimately be adopted in several states. In November of 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, followed by Oregon and Washington.
What Marijuana Looks Like
Marijuana plants are green and can take on brown or grayish hues. The plants grow upright and typically have 7-9 blades on each leaf, although variations are not uncommon. The flowers, also known as buds, are usually the part of the plant which is dried and smoked. THC can be extracted from the entire plant and, depending on the extraction process, hash and oil can be made for consumption.
Modes of Administration
Marijuana can be consumed by smoking, inhaling or ingesting. The buds of the plants are dried and rolled up like a cigarette (referred to as a joint) or put in a pipe or bong and smoked. Plants can also be vaporized and the vapors inhaled. Marijuana oil, also known as honey oil, can be added to cigarettes or joints and hash can be smoked and vaporized. THC can be extracted and turned into a butter (“cannabutter”) which is then used to make edibles including cookies, brownies, etc.
The Science Behind Marijuana
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) molecules travel through the blood stream to the brain, activating the brain’s reward system by stimulating brain cells to release dopamine.
The most common reported symptoms of discontinuing use are insomnia, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, depression, anxiety and reduced appetite. Withdrawal symptoms are not life threatening and are generally mild, although quitting marijuana after extended use can be an uncomfortable experience.