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Union Marijuana Dependence

Marijuana is a drug derived from the leaves, flowers, stems and seeds of the hemp plant, which is also known as Cannabis sativa. The plant contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has mind-altering properties. In terms of illegal drugs, cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Street names for this drug include bud, dope, ganja, grass, hemp, herb, Mary Jane, smoke, skunk, Texas tea, weed or hash. A person may use this drug by smoking it in a pipe or in a cigarette-like roll, known as a joint.

For some people, smoking cannabis use can lead to marijuana dependence. For help with a substance abuse problem, contact Union Drug Rehab at (908) 329-2286.

Why is Marijuana Dependence so Common?

An estimated 4.3 percent of Americans have been dependent upon this drug at some point in their lives, according to “Addiction Science & Clinical Practice.”

Marijuana is typically a highly available drug and many people mistakenly believe the drug does not cause dependence. This drug is known to be less addictive than other drugs. For example, 9 percent of users experience a dependence while 15 percent of people who try cocaine or 24 percent of people who try heroin will become dependent, according to “Addiction Science & Clinical Practice.”

While this drug has been classified as having no known medical purpose by FDA drug category classifications, several states have passed laws making the drug legal or making it legal for medical usage. The increasing legality of marijuana has made the drug more widely available as well as more acceptable for use.

A person is said to suffer from dependence if he or she uses marijuana to feel “normal.” Cannabis dependence has been associated with negative health consequences, such as impaired memory, mental health problems and respiratory or breathing problems, if the person smokes cannabis. Those who seek treatment for cannabis dependence have typically used the drug for 10 years or longer and have tried to quit without success for six times or more.

Dependence on any drug is difficult for a person to admit, and dependence on cannabis is no exception. A person may be in denial that he or she suffers from substance dependence or may be ashamed to admit that he or she is dependent.  A dependency also takes over a person’s life, where he or she becomes highly focused on using cannabis again.

What is Cross Addiction?

Cross addiction refers to when a person is addicted not only to cannabis, but also to other drugs. Smoking cannabis can increase the euphoric or “high” effects of additional drugs. Besides illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, a cross addiction can also occur with alcohol or nicotine products.

While some people call marijuana a “gateway” drug that causes him or her to become addicted to or try other substances, researchers are uncertain if cannabis does cause or lead to dependence on other drugs. However, there are people who abuse or are dependent upon cannabis as well as another drug or alcohol.

Signs and Symptoms of Cannabis Dependence and Abuse

Symptoms of marijuana dependence include:

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using
  • Giving up activities a person once enjoyed or performing poorly at a job due to drug use
  • Making several unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking
  • Needing to use more of the drug to achieve the same effects
  • Using the drug, even when a person has experienced problems in the past

Marijuana dependence can have dangerous health effects, both in the long-term and short-term. According to the NIDA, people had made more than 456,000 visits that had a mention of cannabis abuse. Some of these admissions are related to smoking or using cannabis that was unknowingly laced with other substances, such as cocaine.

Treatment for Marijuana Dependence

Treatments are available for those who suffer from cannabis dependence. These include helping a person through the physical detox process associated with withdrawing from cannabis. Also, supportive therapies can include cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps a person learn to resist the urge to smoke cannabis and learn how to respond to temptations from others to use the drug.

Find out more about treating substance abuse problems when you call Union Drug Rehab at (908) 329-2286.

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