Utah Marijuana Addiction

Definition

How long does marijuana stay in your system

Marijuana is one of the most underrated abused controlled substances in our society today. It has been coined as the “gateway” drug since most addicts first experimented with marijuana before they moved on to more harmful substances. More than 70% of all drug arrests in America are marijuana related. Marijuana can be emotionally, psychologically, and physically addicting. Roughly two (2) million people in the United States use it daily. Once a tolerance to marijuana is developed, it can take the user eight (8) times the normal dosage to achieve the same effects as they previously experienced and contrary to popular opinion, marijuana has been shown to be addictive to both teens and adults alike (NIDA, 2012).

Marijuana is a major topic of controversy regarding the legitimacy of its healing properties and therefore being used as a prescribed medicine. Additionally, it is another main subject of discussion concerning legalizing marijuana altogether for recreational purposes. The states of Washington and Colorado recently made it legal to adults for such a reason. It is too soon to tell if this decision was healthy and fully thought out; having no negative ramifications. 

Marijuana is derived from a natural plant (cannabis sativa) that is cultivated both indoors and out. Due to marijuana’s ability to be harvested indoors, marijuana can be grown just about anywhere in the world. As far as outdoors is concerned; marijuana is a weed and therefore does best in dry desert climates such as Asia, Mexico, Afghanistan, etc. Since it is used medicinally and recreationally as of late, it can be found in many forms such as: candy, suckers, in food items, and in various drinks, etc. 

THC is the active chemical ingredient that actually produces the psychoactive “high” (induced relaxation/calmness, fantasy/dreaminess, giddiness and euphoria) one can expect to have upon taking it into their system. The most popular way to extract the chemical THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) found in marijuana is through smoking the dried out buds found throughout the plant stems. THC is hydrophobic (will not mix with water) so once it reaches the brain it naturally binds with all things fatty and therefore clings to the neurotransmitters. This is how the euphoric feelings are originally created, however after chronic use of marijuana the THC effects the brain’s hippocampus functioning of both memory and learning capacity. The neurotransmitters are literally plugged or blocked off with THC resin which affects perception, motor coordination, reasoning, and reaction functions. This is why the marijuana user will appear to be mellow and slowed down for the most part. Their brain is truly clouded and struggling to make the proper synapses in real time within their neurotransmitters.

Heavy use of marijuana can take 15 months or longer to reverse the effects it has on brain functions. Marijuana addicts can expect traces of use on a urine analysis (UA) test for weeks upon initial use. One of the issues marijuana addicts face is they justify their continued use claiming there are no negative side-effects in their lives. One of the dangers associated with marijuana smoking is the carcinogenic properties it contains. Marijuana deposits four (4) times the amount of tar in a users lungs in comparison to a cigarette. If you smoke both tobacco and marijuana daily, you significantly increase your risk for lung disease and/or cancer. Up to date there has been no documentation or proof of overdose from marijuana consumption. The only way this could occur is if the user consumed an inordinate amount which is not humanly possible or if the marijuana was laced with a different chemical/substance.

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Common signs of a marijuana addiction are:

  • Manipulation
  • Behavior changes
  • Self-medicating to cope with issues
  • Groggy
  • Forgetful
  • Appears relaxed and drowsy
  • Reacts callous to emergencies or issues when brought up
  • Constantly late or absent for important activities (School, work, etc.)
  • Overall lack of motivation
  • Prone to injury and/or accidents
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Involvement with the law and court system
  • Loss of control
  • Constantly asking for money because they have none
  • Personal items of friends and family start missing
  • Sudden loss of job
  • Money is stolen and checks are not balanced
  • Telling lies
  • Personal items start disappearing
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Increased appreciation for music or the arts
  • Sudden use of incense to mask marijuana odor
  • Isolating from their family and sober friends
  • Expanded blood vessels in eyes causing them to look bloodshot or red
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sleeping and eating habits
  • Lack of interest in sports or other active recreations
  • Poor hygiene and carelessness in appearance
  • Extreme hunger or thirst (Munchies)
  • Craving sweet and high caloric fatty foods
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • “Burnout” syndrome
    • Inattentive
    • Dull
    • Appears to be in own world
    • Inability or delayed response time to others
    • Poor performance at work or school, etc.
    • Lack of participation in personal relationships
  • Mood swings
    • Irritability
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
      • Panic attacks
    • Hostility

Common symptoms of a marijuana addiction are:

  • Reaction time is significantly delayed
  • Dry mouth (Cottonmouth) 
  • Loss of motor coordination and balance
    • Difficulty operating a bicycle, vehicle or machinery, etc.
  • Distortion 
    • Sounds
    • Vision
    • Sense of time
  • Brain functions
    • Problems with short-term memory
    • Problems with thinking, learning and retaining information
    • Impaired judgment
    • Verbal and mathematical skills
    • Reading comprehension
    • Struggle with problem solving
    • Mental health disorders
      • Anxiety
      • Depression 
      • Substance induced psychosis
        • Paranoia
        • Schizophrenia
        • Manic episodes
        • Hallucinations
        • Delusions
  • Lung functions
    • Chronic coughing and wheezing
    • Poor lung capacity
    • Asthma
    • Emphysema
    • Phlegm
    • Obstructed airways
    • Infections and illness

      • Chest colds
      • Bronchitis
      • Pneumonia
      • Tuberculosis
      • Cancer
  • Heart functions
    • Increased heart rate and blood flow (Between 20-100%)
    • Heart attack (Myocardial infarction)
    • Irregular heart rhythm (Arrhythmia)
  • Hormonal problems
    • Delay of puberty
    • Lower sperm count and potency
    • Lowered testosterone levels
    • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Pregnancy complications
    • Impaired fertility
    • Miscarriage
    • Labor and delivery
  • Withdrawal Symptoms

    • Symptoms can last up to seven (7) days
    • Irritability
    • Nausea
    • Sweating
    • Intense dreaming
    • Mild to moderate agitation
    • Decreased appetite
    • Anxiety 
    • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
    • Intense cravings for more marijuana
    • Restlessness
    • Shakiness (hands, etc.)
    • Weight loss

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

When treating a marijuana addiction, many factors need to be considered. Take for instance the importance of creating an actual physical separation between you and marijuana. This is most easily done by attending a residential inpatient substance abuse facility. When looking for the right residential drug rehab, make sure you find one that specializes in substance abuse and is able to foster a loving and healing atmosphere. You would think that you are done with treatment once you complete an inpatient program, however this is not the case.

The next healthy step is to continue your treatment episode by attending and successfully finishing an outpatient aftercare program. This usually lasts for six months or more. Another way to secure your sobriety and safety is to live in a sober living group home. This is where you can have continued accountability and keep your marijuana addiction in check. Zion Recovery Center does all of this and more. We will help you sort it all out. We are just a phone call away from starting your newfound life free from marijuana dependence. Call now! 385-207-2029