Some marijuana users who are already vulnerable to stress, depression, mental illness or genetic predisposition end up displaying classic behaviors that define addiction which, in this case, is Marijuana Use Disorder.
Recognizing signs of marijuana use disorder can help a health care professional determine the severity of the problem. The symptoms of marijuana use disorder can include the following.
- An upset stomach, irritability, anxiety or depression when not high means a physical dependence has already developed.
- Constant anxiety that requires pot to relax and becoming dependent on it for relaxation.
- Developing a drug tolerance requiring more of the drug to achieve the same effects.
- Smoking more marijuana than intended, even after knowing its side-effects.
- Spending most of one’s free time between work and family commitments to get high due to an inability to control cravings.
- Spending considerable time and effort toward planning to procure or procuring marijuana.
Side effects of marijuana use disorder
When smoked, a high from marijuana use will develop within minutes and can last for several hours, depending on individual tolerance levels. Some of the common signs of marijuana use include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased appetite
- Red, puffy eyes
- Slowed reflexes
When abused for a longer duration, marijuana can have some serious side effects including impaired memory, suicidal thoughts, impaired cognitive abilities, and increased risk of lung cancer.
Psychological effects of cannabis use
It is well known that marijuana has psychological effects along with the physical ones listed above. These include:
- Distorted perception of time
- Mood swings from calmness to high anxiety
- Random or disjointed thoughts
- Short-term memory loss
Long-term impact of heavy marijuana use
While many may believe that there are no major after effects of marijuana use, the opposite is actually true. There are some serious long-term effects of marijuana use which make rehab for weed abuse vital. These long-term effects can include:
- A smaller orbitofrontal cortex which is the predominant brain region for decision-making and interpreting emotions.
- Denser cross-brain connections, which researchers gather are the brain’s way to bridge and compensate for discrepancies in abnormal sizes of brain regions.
- Lower IQ.
Inside the body
Cannabis, also known as weed or herb, has notable painkilling and anti-nausea effects when smoked or ingested after being heated, though mild effects can be experienced at room temperature.
When consumed as an edible product, the heat also increases the fat solubility of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the chemical responsible for most of the marijuana’s psychological effects, increasing its ability to be metabolized as well as its availability in its more psychoactive state. It is also why THC stays in the system for much longer than most other drugs – about a month on an average – since the molecules are bonded to fat cells.
The psychological effects of marijuana use disorder can last many months or even years after the individual stops smoking. Anxiety and depression are common outcomes of marijuana abuse and these two medical conditions are likely cyclical – leading to an individual’s desire to self-medicate or require a pharmaceutical medication to treat the condition appropriately.
Compared to men, women respond to substances differently. More sensitive to the effects of some drugs, women who use addictive substances such as drugs and alcohol may be more likely to have panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and may even experience negative physical symptoms including damage to their heart and blood vessels.
Thankfully, help for overcoming marijuana use can be found at marijuana treatment centers like those provided by Sovereign Health. A leading U.S. drug rehab center, Sovereign’s marijuana detox centers offer evidence-based treatment for drug addiction that combines medically-supervised detoxification treatment along with psychotherapies with complementary and experiential treatments and activities.