Marijuana is a classic “gateway drug” as initial experimentation with it often leads the user to try harder drugs.
What Is Marijuana?
The catch-all name for the green or brown dried-out mixture of leaves, flowers, and stems from a cannabis plant, marijuana is usually smoked, but can also be consumed in baked goods or other edibles. Marijuana is a classic “gateway drug” as initial experimentation with it often leads the user to try harder drugs. Unfortunately, popular culture has made light of marijuana use, leading many to believe that it is harmless and making it easy to mask the signs of marijuana dependency. However, there are real and serious consequences to frequent marijuana use that belie its carefree image.
In most cases, daily marijuana use is an indication that the individual is attempting to mask or avoid deeper psychological issues. In such cases, the person is as addicted to the escape from reality that the drug can provide as they are to the drug itself. In addition, those who smoke marijuana regularly tend to isolate themselves from others out of fear of being judged, which can result in depression or suicidal thoughts.
At Northbound Treatment Services, we are specially equipped to handle the unique psychological issues that often accompany marijuana dependency. We focus on helping marijuana users realize the pleasure and value in their lives, helping them confront and overcome the urge to escape that fed their addiction. By providing both physical and emotional support and treating the addiction simultaneously with any co-occurring mental illness, Northbound helps marijuana users on the path to a healthy, sober life.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment
Although marijuana is not the most physically addictive drug (in comparison to methamphetamine or heroin), marijuana is sometimes the hardest drug for people to quit. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. One of the primary reasons why it is so hard for a person to quit smoking marijuana is the existence of an entire subculture of pot smokers which has developed over the years. The marijuana subculture has its own beliefs, customs, and rituals. Often the hardest thing to do in treatment is break through the strong barrier of denial, rationalization, and justification that has sprouted up as a result of the marijuana smoker’s involvement in this subculture.
Many marijuana smokers often argue that the drug does less damage than alcohol, but they are applying faulty assumptions to the use of alcohol. Most addicts and alcoholics assume that a person drinks alcohol to feel the inebriating effects of alcohol, but this is not true. This may be the reason some people drink alcohol, but “normal drinkers” do not necessarily drink alcohol to get drunk. In fact, “normal drinkers” will often stop drinking once they feel the effects of alcohol. In contrast, people smoke marijuana primarily to get high. Pot smokers want to feel the effects produced by the drug, and therefore it differs from alcohol. Marijuana addicts have difficulty seeing this difference between alcohol use and marijuana use.
The major active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the mind-altering effects of marijuana intoxication. The amount of THC determines the potency and, therefore, the “high” of marijuana. From 1980 till now, the amount of THC in marijuana has risen dramatically. The long-term effects of marijuana use can be both physically and psychologically damaging to the user.
Frequent marijuana abuse must be addressed before it leads to isolation, suicidal tendencies or harder drug use. Although the physical dependency is not as intense as it can be with other drugs, people who are abusing marijuana will still experience withdrawal symptoms that require experienced clinical supervision. Smoking marijuana releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that triggers pleasure. In regular marijuana users, the brain becomes accustomed to the increased levels of serotonin, tricking them into believing that they can only experience pleasure if they are high.
The only way to break free from the addiction to serotonin is to stop abusing marijuana and “relearn” the life skills that will lead to a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. At Northbound Treatment Services, we create an individualized treatment plan that meets the physical, spiritual, and psychological needs of each client. In this way, we give marijuana users a safe and nurturing place to break the habit and release themselves from their drug addiction.
If you or someone you love is suffering from a dependency on marijuana, don’t wait. Call Northbound today and take the first step toward long-term sobriety and a new life.