Marijuana is the most widely used drug in the United States. It's a psychoactive drug that comes from the cannabis plant. THC is the compound found in the plant responsible for the "high" the user feels when using the substance. There are different forms of THC that can be abused with the actual flower being the most commonly used. The flower is a plant material that is typically green. Individuals can ingest the flower by smoking in glass pipes, water bongs, joints and even newer devices such as dab rigs or vape pens which utilize a concentrated form of the THC.
The potentcy of the drug can vary depending on a number of factors and which products are being used. Marijuana can be made into different products such as weed, edibles, concentrates or extracts, oils and more. The options are endless at this point which only means there are more ways for the drug to be abused. With the legalization continuing and more states approving the legalization of recreational marijuana, the products are becoming widely available to anyone 21 years and older.
Marijuana: Fact or Fiction?
Tips to Combat Marijuana Addiction
- Extrovert your attention. Walking and spending time outside can be very therapeutic.
- Make sure to eat healthy foods. A deficiency in vitamins and minerals can create a drop in mental and physical energy.
- Go to the gym. Exercise can boost morale and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Find a hobby or activity, that allows you to be in a different location than where you are using drugs.
- Recognize the people in your environment, who affect you emotionally. They could be one of the reasons for your emotional problems.
Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made chemicals that are similar to marijuana. They are usually smoked, vaped, or brewed in tea. People sometimes advertise them as "100% natural"; this is a false statement as they are synthetic. They are often called synthetic marijuana and are marketed as being the same as marijuana. They are, in fact, very different from marijuana. Although the ingredients act on the same receptors that THC does, the effects can be unpredictable and dangerous. Since they are unregulated, they are not necessarily safe and can be much more potent than marijuana.
Some of these synthetic cannabinoids' brand names include K2, Spice, Joker, Blaze, Demon Passion Smoke, Magma, Ninja, Nitro, Skunk, Ultra Chronic, and Voodoo Spice.
The effects of these drugs can vary since their constitution can be different. Some of the effects include elevated mood, relaxation, psychosis symptoms, severe anxiety, confusion, paranoia, hallucinations, violent behavior, suicidal thoughts, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and vomiting.
An overdose on synthetic cannabinoids can be much more severe than regular marijuana. It can cause problems like high blood pressure that can lead to other complications, kidney damage, and seizures. Again, these can vary widely depending on which substance was used to make it.
Hashish also known as just hash, is a concentrated form of THC. It is made from the cannabis flower itself by compressing the flower. In terms of active ingredients, it is essentially the same as marijuana, so its effects are very similar. Hash can also be made into an oil while These can be eaten known as edibles, vaped, smoked by putting it on the marijuana flower or with tobacco or "dabbed" which is a specific method using heat to create a vapor out of the concentrate that is smoked.
Street names of marijuana
Here are some of the street names for marijuana. These are ever-evolving and can vary depending on the location.
- Aunt Mary
- Bobo Bush
- Burrito Verdes
- Dinkie Dow
- Dry High
- Giggle Smoke
- Giggle Weed
- Good Giggles
- Jolly Green
- Joy Smoke
- Loco Weed
- Mary Jane
- Mexican Brown
- Mexican Green
- Panama Red
- Stink Weed
- Texas Tea
What Does Marijuana Look Like
INDOOR MARIJUANA GROW
INDOOR MARIJUANA GROW EQUIPMENT
History of marijuana
Cannabis has been around for thousands of years. It has been referenced in different historical documents as far back as 2700 B.C in China, India, and later on in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Most of the time, people used the plant to make clothes or other fabrics (using hemp fiber) and medicinal purposes. The mind-altering properties of cannabis were known and used in religious ceremonies and also recreationally. A greek historian, Herodotus, described that the Scythians, ancient tribes of warriors in Asia, would inhale the vapors of cannabis seeds and flowers.
People brought cannabis to the New World in the 1500s, mostly for hemp, a strong fiber used to fabricate clothes and sails and ship rigging equipment. It became an essential crop all over the world. During that period, some people also used the drug recreationally. When the industrial revolution came about, and steam-powered engines started taking over, the demand for hemp decreased, and the United States began to grow cotton. And the hemp cultivated in the U.S. was a low-THC variety. The Mexican Revolution started in 1910, and many people came to America to get away from the conflict and brought cannabis with them. When the Prohibition began in 1920, cannabis became a cheaper replacement for alcohol.
The United States Marijuana Laws
There were different laws introduced internationally and in the United States regarding cannabis use. Possession or distribution of marijuana became officially illegal in 1937 with the Marihuana Tax Act, unless intended for medical or industrial purposes and one gets registered. The Boggs Act of 1951 enacted mandatory sentencing for drug offenses, including marijuana. A first offense would give one a fine of $2,000 with 2 to 5 years, second offense: 5-10 years, and third offense: 10-20 years. Four years later, the Narcotics Control Act of 1956 made a first offense punishable by a fine of up to $20,000, along with a mandatory 2 to 10-year sentence.
In 1971, the Controlled Substances Act became effective and classified marihuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in the United States. Although this classification made cannabis comparable to peyote and heroin in the eyes of the law and made its use completely illegal, no matter the purpose, it did remove the minimum sentencing related to marijuana possession and distribution enacted in the 50s.
Since then, different states have passed laws regarding cannabis. Nowadays, most states have made medicinal marijuana legal. Other state laws have been passed either decriminalizing or legalizing recreational marijuana since. The difference between these two is that legalization removes all legal prohibitions, while decriminalization removes the criminal sanctions. So if marijuana is decriminalized in a state, it is still illegal, but simple possession of a small quantity would not be grounds for criminal charges. As an example, the first state to decriminalize marijuana was Oregon in 1973 made the possession of less than 1 oz of marijuana not a crime, but a misdemeanor, which carries only a fine of 500 to 1,000 dollars as its penalty. In 2012, Colorado became the first state (along with Washington) to legalize marijuana for recreational use. It made the recreational use of marijuana legal in the state, although it is still regulated including minimum age for consumption, maximum quantity allowed, license for sale, etc.
Although marijuana is now legal in different states and countries, it doesn't mean it is safer now than it was before. Here are some of the warnings the CDC gives:
- Daily or near-daily marijuana use can damage one's memory, learning, and attention for a week or more after the last use.
- Using marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding can harm the baby.
- Marijuana has been linked to anxiety and other psychiatric disorders, although it has not been determined whether marijuana is the direct cause.
- Smoking marijuana and any other product can cause damage to your lungs and cardiovascular system.
Is Marijuana Legal in my State?
Here is a view of the different states and the legal status of marijuana. The laws themselves can be slightly different depending on the state or jurisdiction.
|State||Medical Marijuana Laws||Legal Status|
|District of Columbia||Yes||Legal|
|Georgia||CBD Oil Only||Illegal|
|Indiana||CBD Oil Only||Illegal|
|Iowa||CBD Oil Only||Illegal|
|Kentucky||CBD Oil Only||Illegal|
|State||Medical Marijuana Laws||Legal Status|
|Texas||CBD Oil Only||Illegal|
|Wisconsin||CBD Oil Only||Illegal|
Effects of Marijuana
Here are some of the effects linked to the use of marijuana.
- Cognitive impairment
- Decreased life satisfaction
- Dry mouth
- Inability to concentrate
- Increased appetite
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased breathing rate
- Increased heart rate
- Increased risk of stroke
- Lack of perception of time
- Lowered reaction time
- Memory loss
- Problems with coordination
- Random thinking
- Red eyes
- Respiratory problems
- Sexual problems
- Short-term memory problems
Marijuana's Effects on the Brain and the Mind
There is mounting evidence that marijuana use in humans can cause long-term and possibly permanent damage to the brain. It seems to be especially true for those who start using marijuana before adulthood. A teenager's brain is still developing; therefore, it is more susceptible to adverse changes and development impairment.
Some studies suggest that regular marijuana use is linked to altered connectivity or decreased volume of certain brain parts that deal with memory and learning. Many studies indicate that marijuana use can cause cognitive impairment, the severity, and duration, depending on the age a person started using and how they have used marijuana. Studies can sometimes have a different conclusion. This is the case with studies trying to link marijuana use in teenagers and a decline in I.Q. Since various environmental factors could be a factor in the decline, it makes it hard to prove. However, some studies have shown a lowered I.Q. in teenagers who regularly used marijuana. More research is needed to reach a clear conclusion. However, the THC levels in marijuana and other cannabis products are increasing over the years, which could influence future research in general.
Although people often say that one cannot overdose on marijuana, this is incorrect. An overdose means that one has taken an excessive and dangerous dose of a drug. While a marijuana overdose is not life-threatening, it is possible to take too much of it at once and get adverse reactions. Here are some of the effects that can happen during a marijuana overdose:
- Changes in mood
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
The duration of these effects will depend on how much was consumed and the amount of THC. The best thing to do is to manage the symptoms as best as possible and wait for them to pass. However, if the effects are severe and the person's life or others' lives could be in danger, if the person is having intense hallucinations or psychotic symptoms, call for help immediately.
A marijuana overdose can be life-threatening when a person has used another substance along with it, such as prescription opioids. These have severe and life-threatening overdose symptoms, so if one suspects an overdose of more than just marijuana, seek out emergency medical care immediately.
There is no denying that marijuana has addictive properties. The degree of those addictive properties is the subject of much debate. The exact factors that cause a person to develop an addiction and others don't have yet to be determined. But according to the CDC, about 3 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted, and addiction risks can be much higher in those marijuana users that started at a young age. The amount, frequency, and duration of use can increase the potential for addiction.
Some signs can indicate that one has developed a marijuana addiction:
- Cravings for marijuana
- Giving up important activities to use marijuana
- Spending a lot of time trying to get and using the drug
- Tolerance, needing more marijuana to achieve the same effects
- Trying but failing to cut back on your marijuana use
- Trying but failing to quit using marijuana
- Using it in situations that could be problematic or dangerous
- Using marijuana even when it causes problems in one's life (school, work, etc.)
- Withdrawal symptoms when, for some reason, one can't use marijuana
If a person suspects that they or someone they love is addicted to marijuana, it is important to go to a drug rehab.
Marijuana has been dubbed a "gateway drug" for a long time now. This topic is controversial. Although it is true that a lot of people who use marijuana will never go on to use a more problematic drug, some never would have used a harder drug had they not started out using marijuana. Marijuana is a more socially accepted drug (legal in some states) and promoted as a "natural drug" with little risk. Therefore, some individuals would never touch any "hardcore drugs" but would use cannabis, thinking it's not a big deal. And for some, it might never become a big deal, but for others, this starts a downward spiral that can devastate lives. Several scenarios could lead to either alcohol abuse or the abuse of another substance.
- A person who either uses high doses of marijuana or uses it can often develop a physical tolerance. As the individual can no longer recreate the high they once had, they could try a more potent drug to reach it.
- Marijuana is a mind-altering drug and can impair one's cognitive function. Although an individual might never have gone near a drug like prescription opioids while sober, marijuana can impair one's judgment and make them more susceptible to out of character decisions.
- A person who uses marijuana will often start hanging with others who do the same. There is a higher chance that one of these friends will have other drugs, and by that fact alone, marijuana use can increase one's exposure to other drugs. Therefore, there is a higher risk of abusing another drug.
How to help a loved one addicted to marijuana
If you realize that your child or someone close to you is addicted to marijuana, you shouldn't ignore it or put off taking action. Don't wait for the problem to go away. Learn what you can about marijuana abuse and its effects on teenagers. Once you understand it, you can talk to your child or loved one about their marijuana problem, the risks related to it, and how it can affect them physically and mentally. It is important not to be confrontational or accuse them. Be honest and compassionate, and make it clear that you are here to help them. Although they might think marijuana use is harmless, bringing up these points could help them see that they should stop.
It would be best not to enable the person. Boundaries need to be set. If you are dealing with your teenager, financial assistance helps them get more marijuana. A common thing is cutting off this financial assistance. This can be uncomfortable for the person, but it is essential for them to realize that their life will be uncomfortable if they keep abusing marijuana. Another part is making sure to establish consequences if they keep using marijuana. It would be best if you did not make idle threats; follow through with the consequences.
If they are resistant to getting help or unable to stop on their own, you should get professional help. If necessary, staging an intervention with a specialist can be very efficient. You can also speak to a professional counselor, such as one of our specialists, to assess whether the problem is just marijuana abuse or addiction. Depending on the assessment, they can help you find the best treatment plan and the facilities available in your area.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment
The marijuana rehab process will be different from person to person. Some can quit on their own, but some will need professional help. The first phase of the process is the withdrawal. Depending on how long and how often one has used marijuana, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms (if there are any) will vary. If a person smoked daily, the body becomes accustomed to receiving THC every day and starts relying on it. If one quits suddenly, the body will need some time to adjust to the lack of THC.
Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person, but here are some of the common symptoms:
- Diminished appetite
- Feelings of depression
- Marijuana cravings
- Mood changes
- Stomach problems
These are not necessarily life-threatening, but they can make it very hard to kick the habit if they are severe. Going through a detoxification program might not be necessary. However, if you are using other substances or have tried quitting marijuana before and have failed, it would be wise to go to a facility and get professional help. Many residential treatment offer in-house detoxification services.
Outpatient vs. Inpatient Rehabilitation
A person with a marijuana use disorder should get appropriate counseling and therapy to address the underlying issues. This can be done with both an outpatient or inpatient program. However, there are situations where inpatient drug treatment is recommended.
- If one lives in an environment that is not drug-free where people use drugs, as this could make recovery very hard
- If one has tried to quit several times in the past but failed to do so
- If one underwent an outpatient treatment but was unable to complete it or relapsed shortly after it
- If a person lives in a place where marijuana is very easily accessible (like places where marijuana is legal)
An inpatient treatment facility will provide a completely drug-free and safe place to focus on recovery. Depending on the facility, they will have different professionals available to ensure that the issues linked to one's addiction are handled and make the person physically and mentally stable enough to get back to their everyday life and get along without marijuana.
Marijuana Use and Abuse Statistics
The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health gives us an excellent picture of marijuana use and abuse. According to this report:
The survey estimates that 43.5 million people (aged 12 or older) used marijuana in the past year, representing over 15% of the U.S. population. This statistic was higher than those from 2002 to 2017. Of these:
- 3.1 million teenagers (12-17 years old) used marijuana in the last year, 1 in 8 teenagers. This statistic is similar to the three prior years.
- 11.8 million young adults (18-25 years old) used marijuana in the last year (13.3%). Although it is similar to the 2017 statistic, it is still higher than those from 2002 to 2016.
- 28.5 million adults aged 26 or older used marijuana in the last year; this represents more than a third of all American young adults (34%). This statistic was higher than those from 2002 to 2017.
It also reported the number of people who used marijuana for the first time in those past 12 months. In the U.S., approximately 3.1 million people used marijuana for the first time. This means that, on average, 8,400 people try marijuana for the first time every day. Most of these are 25 years old or younger (2.5 million).
The report also touched on marijuana use disorder, whether that is dependence or abuse. Dependence is defined as having three or more of the following characteristics:
- spent a lot of time engaging in activities related to use of the drug,
- used the drug in greater quantities or for a longer time than intended,
- developed tolerance to the drug,
- made unsuccessful attempts to cut down on use of the drug,
- continued to use the drug despite physical health or emotional problems associated with use,
- reduced or eliminated participation in other activities because of use of the drug, and
- experienced withdrawal symptoms when respondents cut back or stopped using the drug.
And for those who did not meet these criteria, abuse was defined as meeting one or more of these criteria:
- problems at work, home, or school because of use of the drug;
- regularly using the drug and then doing something physically dangerous;
- repeated trouble with the law because of use of the drug; and
- continued use of the drug despite problems with family or friends.
In the report, 4.4 million people had a marijuana use disorder in 2018, representing 1.6% of the population. This is similar to the 2017 statistic of 4.1 million. Of these:
- 512,000 were between 12 and 17 years old (representing 2.1% of all teenagers)
- 2 million young adults (18-25 years old) had a marijuana use disorder (5.9%)
- 1.9 million adults 26 years old or older had a marijuana use disorder (0.9%)
The survey also reported that only 5.1% of those who had a marijuana use disorder received treatment at a specialty facility in 2018. This percentage has remained stable since 2015 (between 5% and 6.7%).
Definitions of common terms related to marijuana
|Cannabinoids||compounds found in cannabis. There are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, which can have different physiological effects on the body. Two of the most known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.|
|CBD||stands for cannabidiol. It is a non-intoxication compound found in cannabis.|
|Gateway drug||any drug whose use may lead to the use of more dangerous or more addictive drugs.|
|Hemp||plant in the same family as cannabis but cultivated for its fiber or seeds. It has a relatively small amount of THC compared to the plant variety grown to make marijuana.|
|Psychoactive drug||A drug that affects how the central nervous system changes how the brain works and causes changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, emotions, or behavior.|
|THC||stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis and is mostly responsible for the "high" and other marijuana effects.|